Privacy Law

Citing Privacy Rights, Arkansas High Court Nixes Law Banning Cohabiting Couples from Adopting


The Arkansas Supreme Court has struck down a law that banned adoptions by anyone cohabiting with another person outside of marriage.

The court said the law, approved by voter initiative in 2008, violated “fundamental privacy rights implicit in the Arkansas Constitution.” The law effectively banned gays and lesbians in relationships from adopting because they can’t get married in the state. The Associated Press, Arkansas News, Keen News Service and the Wall Street Journal Law Blog have stories.

“We hold that a fundamental right to privacy is at issue in this case and that, under the Arkansas Constitution, sexual cohabitors have the right to engage in private, consensual, noncommercial intimacy in the privacy of their homes,” the opinion (PDF) said. “We further hold that this right is jeopardized by Act 1 which precludes all sexual cohabitors, without exception, from eligibility for parenthood, whether by means of adoption or foster care.”

Jerry Cox, president of the Christian conservative Family Council, told Arkansas News that the decision “is the worst ever handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court.” His group is considering asking voters to approve the cohabitation adoption ban as a constitutional amendment.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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