Utah Now the Only State Prohibiting Adoptions by ‘Cohabitating’ Couples

An Arkansas judge has overturned the state’s voter-approved law prohibiting adoptions by unmarried couples, making Utah the only state with such a law still on the books.

The April 16 ruling by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Christopher C. Piazza strikes down the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act, which passed 57-43 percent in 2008 and which prohibited cohabitating couples — heterosexual or homosexual — from adopting. Piazza said the law violates the Arkansas constitution’s guaranteed right to privacy and forces couples “to choose between becoming a parent and having any meaningful type of intimate relationship outside of marriage.” The law, Piazza said, targets a “politically unpopular group.”

“It is not narrowly tailored to the least restrictive means necessary to serve the State’s interest in determining what is in the best interest of the child,” Piazza said.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit on behalf of several same-sex couples.

Although the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee — which sponsored the ballot initiative — said it will appeal, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has not given a definitive answer.

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