Friday, April 16, 2010
Arkansas Court: State Constitutional Ballot Initiative Banning Adoption by Unmarried Couples Unconstitutional
Arkansas Act One, passed by the voters in November 2008 prohibits cohabiting same-sex couples and (unmarried) heterosexual couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents.
Relying on the state constitution, Judge Christopher Piazza of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, has held the Act unconstitutional:
Due Process and Equal Protection are not hollow words without substance. They are rights enumerated in our constitution that must not be construed in such a way as to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.
Piazza found it "especially troubling" that "one politically unpopular group has been specifically target for exclusion by the Act." While Piazza specifically rejected the federal constitutional claims, he noted that state constitutions can grant greater rights than the federal constitution.