Judge nicks ban on gay foster parents

Judge nicks ban on gay foster parents

2004 is ending on the upswing for gay rights.

Same-sex marriage available to 88% of Canadians and Americans living in Massachusetts. Civil Union rights in California, and two recent court decisions supporting gay foster parents.

I am not trying to say we don't lots of work ahead on the road to equality and justice, we do. We are however on the track to victory. We know younger Canadians and Americans support gay rights in much higher numbers than older citizens.

We are gaining in the courts and in public opinion. The work now is to get on with achieving our goals and not wait for others to do the heavy lifting.

From the Charlotte Observer

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - An Arkansas judge Wednesday declared unconstitutional a state ban on placing foster children in any household with a gay member.

Ruling in a case brought by the Arkansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox said the state Child Welfare Agency Review board had overstepped its authority by trying to regulate "public morality."

At issue was a 1999 board regulation that said gays cannot become foster parents, and foster children cannot be placed in any home with a gay member under its roof.

The ACLU had argued that the regulation violates the equal-protection rights of gays. But the judge's ruling did not turn on that argument.

While acknowledging that the ban was discriminatory against gays, Fox said that homosexuals are not recognized under the law as a "suspect class," as women and racial minorities are.

Instead, he said that the Arkansas Legislature gave the child-welfare board the power to "promote the health, safety and welfare of children," and that the ban does not accomplish that. He said that the regulation instead seeks to regulate "public morality" - something the board was not given the authority to do.

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