Committee Advances Bill to Ban Gay Foster Parents

MARCH 12, 2007 - Posted at 11:21 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - A Senate committee has advanced a bill to reinstate Arkansas' ban on gay foster parents.

The proposal would also ban gays and lesbians from adopting children.

The legislation was forwarded today by the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor. The bill would also prohibit cohabiting couples from either fostering or adopting children.

Arkansas had a ban on gay foster parents, but that prohibition was thrown out by the state Supreme Court in June. Four people sued after the policy was put in effect in 1999 and the state Child Welfare Board dropped the policy after losing a court fight in 2004.

The board instituted the ban in March 1999, saying children should be in traditional two-parent homes because they are more likely to thrive in that environment.

In the unanimous ruling, the court said testimony in the state's appeal demonstrated that ``the driving force behind adoption of the regulations was not to promote the health, safety and welfare of foster children but rather based upon the board's views of morality and its bias against homosexuals.''

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)