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Supreme Court refusal to rule on Florida adoption ban could result in more statewide bans

Supreme Court refusal to rule on Florida adoption ban could result in more statewide bans

Adoptions by gays--a subject the U.S. Supreme Court declined to deal with on Monday--would be illegal in Arkansas under legislation now being prepared. The high court's ruling--to not hear an appeal to Florida's blanket ban on adoptions by gays, whether single and coupled--energized conservatives around the nation who want other states to mimic Florida's all-inclusive prohibition. Conservative groups--whose recent focus has been on blocking same-sex marriages--cheered the decision. It "sends a huge message that the court is not going to be open to a broad-based homosexual agenda," said Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel in Orlando, Fla. Other states, he said, should start considering similar laws. In Arkansas, state senator Jim Holt has said he is working on legislation to ban adoptions by gays, which the state now allows, and would expand his bill to include language to ban foster-care placements in gay homes. He made the statement after a Pulaski County judge struck down a state ban on placing foster children in homes with a gay resident, saying the measure exceeded constitutional authority. State lawyers said the issue could likely be cleared up by changing the law to give the state foster-care review board authority to regulate issues of morality. Arkansas voters in November overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. "We don't want to allow homosexual marriages. What would we think about [placing] a child that has no say-so in that scenario at all?" Holt said. In declining to review the Florida law, Supreme Court justices averted a second showdown over gay rights in two years. The court barred states in 2003 from criminalizing gay sex, a decision that brought strong criticism from conservative and religious groups. Monday's action indicates the court is finished for now with the delicate subject. Six states specifically allow adoptions by gays--California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont--as well as the District of Columbia. Three states have limits: Florida, Mississippi, and Utah. The rest have no formal law, he said.

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