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News Link • Sexuality: Sex and the Law

Arkansas Supreme Court strikes down law barring same sex couples from adopting

• Eric W. Dolan via The Raw Story

Supporters of an Arkansas law that prevented unmarried same sex and straight couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents may seek a constitutional amendment to reinstate it after the state's Supreme Court ruled the ban was unconstitutional.

The Court ruled Thursday that Act One, the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act, was unconstitutional because it "burdens the privacy rights of 'opposite sex and same sex individuals' who engage in private, consensual sexual conduct in the bedroom by foreclosing their eligibility to foster or adopt children."

"We hold that a fundamental right to privacy is at issue in this case and that, under the Arkansas Constitution, sexual cohabitors have the right to engage in private, consensual, noncommercial intimacy in the privacy of their homes," Justice Robert L. Brown wrote in the court's ruling. "We further hold that this right is jeopardized by Act One which precludes all sexual cohabitors, without exception, from eligibility for parenthood, whether by means of adoption or foster care."

The law banned all same sex couples from adopting or fostering children because they can't legally marry in Arkansas, but does not prevent single people who live alone from adopting or fostering children.

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