On Tuesday, Pulaski County circuit judge Chris Piazza allowed three
teenagers to join a lawsuit challenging the Arkansas law that prevents
unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children, the Associated Press reported.
The judge ruled the teenagers, ages 15, 16, and 17, can be plaintiffs in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas. The teenagers told the judge the law limits their ability to find a family.
The law bars unmarried couples who live together from adopting or fostering children. Gay couples are included in the ban because of the state's constitutional amendment outlawing same-sex marriage.
The teens, two of whom are siblings, are in state homes because their mothers were addicted to methamphetamine.
Assistant attorney general Colin Jorgensen asked the judge to not allow the teens to join the suit.
"The plaintiffs should not be permitted to buy time in order to salvage their own failed complaint," he argued.
"We couldn't go and stand in front of a state home and say 'Come join our case," ACLU attorney Stacey Friedman replied.
The lawsuit challenging the law has been amended four times to adjust the list of plaintiffs. Piazza asked why it took so long to find children affected by the law.
"Why in the world does it take us over a year to put that in the complaint?" Piazza asked.
The judge allowed the new plaintiffs and declined to delay the May 10 trial.
The ACLU sued the state of Arkansas in December 2008 on behalf of a group of families attempting to repeal the ban.