The dishonesty of SB 959 begins at the beginning, in the title: “An act to protect the children who are most vulnerable by clarifying the public policy of the state of Arkansas regarding the placement of children with an adoptive or foster parent … ”

SB 959 is not intended to protect vulnerable children, except perhaps incidentally. The main purpose of the bill is to force the prejudices and religious beliefs of certain adults onto everyone else, children included. It’s a particularly nasty form of elitism, and, as the real advocates for children have pointed out, it will shrink the pool of potentially good parents for foster and adoptive children. It’s more deprivation than protection.


The bill says that homosexuals and couples living and having sex together without marriage cannot adopt children nor serve as foster parents. But there is no credible evidence that homosexuals or unmarried heterosexuals make poorer parents than others. SB 959 implicitly acknowledges as much. Bills often include clauses ostensibly explaining why the bill is needed, the sponsors grabbing hold of anything that looks like a fact if it might support their position. The sponsor of SB 959 didn’t even make the effort.

SB 959 will have a harmful effect even on kids who aren’t foster or adoptive children, by telling them that it’s permissible to arbitrarily discriminate against those who are different from us. Americans have shed buckets of blood, sweat and tears to refute that proposition.


Let freedom ring

Is it gays or blacks who are the first target of bigots? Close call.


The Republican Caucus in the legislature supports a bill that would require voters to show photo identification or sign a written form and vote a “provisional” ballot. The bill (HB 2120) is intended to intimidate black voters, who are justifiably suspicious of new government limitations on their right to vote. They were effectively denied that right for years.

All over America, Republicans try to run off black voters. It was a key part of their strategy for stealing the Florida presidential election in 2004. Rep. Steve Harrelson, D-Texarkana, makes the case against HB 2120 succinctly and effectively: “To me, voting is one of the last free things we can do here in this country. Anytime we want to place restrictions on Americans’ ability to vote, I have huge concerns with it.”


Unlike Harrelson, some people are confused about what “democracy” means. It doesn’t mean invading other countries. It means not harassing potential voters in our own.


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