In Arkansas, The Battle To Protect Children Goes On

Inside the Issues with Alan Sears

Alan Sears, Esquire
ADF President, CEO, & Legal Counsel

January 27, 2009

It was popularly referenced as Act I – an initiative heartily endorsed (57-43 percent) by Arkansas voters last November that would make it illegal for unmarried couples – all unmarried couples – to adopt children in that state. 

The premise is simple enough: historians, psychologists and sociologists agree that the ideal environment for raising children is in a home guided by a married mother and a father.  Children need stability, and a home based on the mother and father’s unwillingness to legally commit to each other is inherently unstable.  Indeed, if a man and woman are not willing to wholeheartedly commit to each other, what evidence is there that they’d be willing to commit completely to providing a good home for their child?

Of course, the American Civil Liberties Union is trying to portray Act 1 as an implicit discrimination against adoptions by same-sex couples. And, in fact, there are legitimate concerns about same-sex parenting: substituting one extra of either gender tends to warp a child’s view of the role of the sexes and deprive the child of the sometimes subtle, sometimes profound influences that male and female parents each exert in a child’s developing mind and emotions.

Can a child grow up secure and content in a single-parent home, or in a home headed by unmarried couples, of the same or opposite sexes?   Conceivably.  But the state has a vested interest in promoting not a “potentially satisfactory” setting, but the best possible environment for children.  And it’s that interest that was underscored by the voting public by the passage of Act 1.

Unfortunately, the ACLU is more preoccupied with obtaining special “rights” and privileges for same-sex couples than it is with protecting children.  The organization recently filed a lawsuit in Little Rock on behalf of several same-sex couples, arguing that Act 1 is unconstitutional, since it discriminates against unmarried cohabitating adults.  Like their counterparts in California, working to overturn the results of Proposition 8, this group of plaintiffs hopes to nullify the voice of the people through the rulings of sympathetic, activist judges.

Last week, the Alliance Defense Fund filed a motion to intervene in the case on behalf of the Family Council Action Committee of Arkansas, which spearheaded the petition drive and ensuing campaign to place Act 1 on the ballot.  A copy of the motion to intervene filed with the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, Sixth Division, in the lawsuit Cole v. State of Arkansas is available at

"Judges should not derail the democratic process by repealing Act 1, and deliberately deprive children of what the people of Arkansas know is the best home environment for them," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron Babione.   "But that’s what the ACLU would have the court do.  Arkansas voters spoke loudly and clearly in last November’s election, and the court should not allow the ACLU to nullify their voice at the ballot box."

ADF-allied attorney Martha Adcock of the Arkansas Family Council is serving as local counsel in the case.  Please be in prayer for her and all of our ADF lawyers and allied attorneys as they work to protect the rights and best interests of children, and to defend the authority of voters who have expressed their clear intentions at the ballot box.