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Arkansas likely
to allow gay foster parents

Arkansas likely
to allow gay foster parents

The head of an Arkansas state panel that had approved a policy barring gay people from serving as foster parents says it is unlikely the state will appeal court decisions rejecting the ban. The Child Welfare Agency Licensing Review Board, meeting at Mount Magazine State Park in Paris, intended a formal vote Thursday. "I'd just like to let the legislature work on this one," board chairman James Balcom said. A Pulaski County judge and the state supreme court each ruled that the board did not have the authority to impose the ban. A state health and human services department lawyer said the state has until September 29 to file papers with the U.S. Supreme Court that it intends to keep fighting. Four people sued after the board adopted the policy in 1999, and the board dropped the policy after losing a court fight in 2004. The four who successfully sued the board did not apply to serve as foster parents, a state spokeswoman said after the state supreme court affirmed the ban in June. Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has said he hoped legislators would consider a ban but that he was not inclined to call a special legislative session to address the issue. He leaves office in January before the next term of the legislature. The board had 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. (AP)

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