Region 8 residents speak out on adoption issue

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -A ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court opens to doors for adoption.  A 2008 law passed by voters was overturned last year.  The law limited who could adopt or foster Arkansas.  Thursday morning the state's highest court upheld that decision.

This ruling means more people will be eligible to adopt in Arkansas.  Those against the ruling say the decision puts too much focus on potential parents and not enough on the children.

"In the court's written opinion, Associate Justice Robert L. Brown said "The law would encroach on an adult's right to privacy in the bedroom."

Now those on both sides of the issue are speaking out.

"I don't think the focus is where it should be.  It should be on what is the child's right, what is in the child's best interest to find a home," said Sharon Stallings.

Stallings is a Court Appointed Special Advocate.  She said the court's unanimous decision is not the right one.

"We are listening to political voices and what people want for their own rights," said Stallings.   This is not the right of the adults it is simply the right for the children to be put in the best home."

Others don't agree.

"If they can guarantee a safe and loving home I believe they should have every chance to have a child that they can have," said Amber Harris.

The Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act was in the court system since it was passed in 2008.  The law banned gay couples and unmarried couples who are living together from adopting or fostering a child.

"There are several people that would love to have kids but they just don't want to get married," said Harris.

Stallings said that is one of the main reasons she supported the law.

"If you're not emotionally or financially committed to a partner then I don't think it's going to be easy to financially or emotionally attach your self to a child," said Stallings.

"Just because they may not want to be married doesn't mean they don't want to have a kid and every child should have a parent that is loving and will nurture them and take care of them," said Harris.

Thursday afternoon Region 8 News spoke with the president of the Family Council Action Committee Jerry Cox.  He said the decision by the court rejects the decision by voters who approved Act 1.  He said they are looking at their options for the future including bringing the issue back up as a Constitutional Amendment.

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