I don't know why, but I was much more upset that Arkansas's Act 1, which banned unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children in an attempt to overturn their supreme court decision that found the ban on gay adoption unconstitutional, passed than California's Prop 8. As asinine as it is, "I think marriage is one man and one woman" didn't seem to compare to "I will hurt children to hate you."
So I'm glad Arkansas's ACLU is filing suit to overturn try to overturn the initiative:
"Act 1 violates the state's legal duty to place the best interest of children above all else," Marie-Bernarde Miller, a Little Rock attorney in the lawsuit, told the Associated Press.
The group filed the suit on behalf of 29 adults and children from more than a dozen families. The families claim the act's language was confusing and voters were therefore misled.
Arkansas ACLU's site has some of the stories of the plaintiffs up on their site.
Curtis Chatham and Shane Frazier
Curtis Chatham, 38, works as a speech therapist and lives in Little Rock with his partner of seven years, Shane Frazier, 35, a hospital administrator. Curtis and Shane have talked about adopting a child for some time, and they say they started talking about it more seriously after a private child placement organization visited their church and talked to the congregation about the need for good homes for the many children in need in Arkansas.
After that, the couple visited the DHS website and found a child they wanted to adopt, a boy whose four siblings had all been adopted but he hadn't been placed because, at age 12, he was a little older than the others. Curtis and Shane prayed together and talked about it for a few days, and then made plans to go into the DHS office to start the process for adoption the day after the election, hoping that Act 1 wouldn't pass.
It's not just all same-sex couples.
Kaytee Wright and Alan Leveritt
Kaytee Wright is 40 years old and lives on a farm in Cabot with her partner of five years, Alan Leveritt. Kaytee helps Alan raise his 8-year-old daughter from his previous marriage, of whom he has joint custody. Kaytee is a personal children's sports performance coach and has worked with children through various organizations, including camps for special needs children, summer activity camps, sports performance camps, and church activities. Together she and Alan are also providing a home and financial assistance to a mother and her two young children through a Little Rock shelter for the working homeless.
Kaytee was adopted from state care when she was just 4 weeks old, and her older brother was adopted from state care two years earlier, when he was 6 weeks old. Kaytee's parents had waited eight years to adopt through the state system. Kaytee credits her parents with giving her a wonderful model for parenting, and she feels very strongly that good homes should be provided to children in the state system. Kaytee and Alan host and assist children with special needs. Kaytee would like to adopt a child but cannot because she and Alan aren't married.
Prior to Act 1 passing, Kaytee had been in contact with DHS about being a foster parent. She was ready to take the mandatory parenting classes for potential foster parents, but eventually she was told that because Act 1 passed, she could not take the classes.
Kaytee was married once for three years and Alan has been married twice, for 19 years the first time and for five years the second time, and he does not want to marry again. Kaytee doesn't want to have to choose between the life she has built with Alan and his daughter and giving other children a loving home.
People who don't want to get married shouldn't have to - there's no evidence that that sheet of paper suddenly makes people better parents.
One of these plaintiffs gets it right about how this law has nothing to do with the betterment of children and everything to do with how much autonomy families have to decide what happens with their children and with their families:
Wincie Gladish and Becky Bryant; Teresa May
Wincie and Becky live in North Little Rock and have been together 35 years. Wincie just celebrated her 70th birthday and Becky is 61. Six years ago they were part of a group that founded the New Beginnings Church in North Little Rock, a nondenominational congregation that welcome LGBT people. The couple spends a lot of time with their grandchildren - camping, fishing, reading, going to ball games, and other fun family activities.
The couple raised Wincie's two biological daughters from the ages of 10 and 12. The younger daughter, Teresa, who is now 45, has five children, the youngest of whom are still minors. The girls' father is deceased and Teresa's husband of six years is in active duty in the Air Force. If something were to happen to Teresa, she wants Wincie and Becky to adopt her 16 and 17-year-old children.
Teresa works with autistic children, many of whom come from dysfunctional homes. She says it breaks her heart to see what a child goes through when he or she doesn't have a stable, loving home environment like she grew up in with Wincie and Becky. She is very hurt that the state of Arkansas would deny her the right to determine who her children are adopted by if something happens to her.
Act 1 went into effect yesterday and it doesn't affect children who were already placed with unmarried couples. Single people who aren't in cohabiting, sexual relationships can still adopt and foster.
We'll see how this lawsuit ends up. They have a point, but overturning one of these initiatives is usually an uphill battle.