Arkansas's gay foster parent ban challenged

BY Advocate.com Editors

August 22 2002 11:00 PM ET

A civil rights group that filed a 1999 lawsuit against Arkansas's ban on gay foster parents has asked a judge to forgo an upcoming trial and overturn the ban, saying it was based on stereotypes and prejudice.

The American Civil Liberties Union originally filed the suit in chancery court on behalf of several prospective foster parents, including a gay couple and a heterosexual married man whose gay son lived with him. A chancery judge transferred the case to circuit court, and a trial date was set for November 5. But Rita Sklar, executive director of the Arkansas chapter of the ACLU, said Tuesday that the state does not have any evidence to support its reasoning for the ban.

"For example, while they're claiming that gays and lesbians are more likely to abuse children, they do not have one case of that on record in Arkansas," she said. "We're saying that the policy is not based on what is in the best interests of the child, which is the standard the court should be using. It is based solely on bias, bigotry, hatred, fear; call it what you like."

Tags: World

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