This is hot in the news, both state and national. Arkansans will vote in November on a proposal that seeks to ban unmarried couples from being eligible to adopt children. From what I've read, it doesn't seem to indicate that SINGLES cannot adopt children, but if you live with your partner and are unmarried, then you are being singled out.
Let's go ahead and get the pink elephant out of the room here. Obviously, this is simply a way to ban gay people from adopting children. Since there is no way for a gay or lesbian couple to legally marry in Arkansas, this bill would succeed in keeping them from adopting children. Of course, the people submitting it say that this is not just about gays not adopting, since they've made it equally discriminating against homo and heterosexuals.
I've read a few news reports on the issue, and have come to the decision that I think this is a bad idea.
In a totally idealistic world, only people with loving and stable marriages would adopt children. Our foster parents would do it just because they love children and feel the push from God to care for those with no one else to care for them, and not for a state check. I am blessed to know two families that are awesome foster parents. (and adoptive parents.) Brandy and Maury. But let's all get real, if only for a moment.
From the latest facts I could find online, there are around 3,600 children in foster care in Arkansas. Some live with families while awaiting adoption (that may never happen) and others that are not fortunate enough to find a foster home, live in state-maintained group homes. The people in support of this bill seem to think that because IDEALLY a married mother and father home is optimal for a child (and I completely agree,) that no one that is unmarried should be able to care for or adopt a child.
So, Mr. Jones and Mrs. Smith. Though you have lived together, out of wedlock, for over 14 years and both have respectable jobs and can provide a fantastic home for a child that otherwise will go without, you should not have the chance to do so. So what if a child or two or three that you would love to adopt are, instead, in a group home, which is possibly the least ideal setting for a child to be raised. This is a moral issue we're talking about! We can't let something like rationalization get in the way of our personal religious beliefs!
And, as a Christian, of course I am not in support of couples living together outside of marriage. Of course I agree that if we had more than enough married couples to foster and adopt the 3,600 children in our state's custody that there would be no reason to consider options outside of this Utopian arrangement. However, that is just not reality.
I look at a child I know personally that came to her now adoptive home, from a foster home. She was in a FOSTER home, not a group home. To say she was not being properly cared for is a vast understatement. Though this person or couple went through classes and got their stamp of approval from the state, they were NOT qualified to care for a child. Being a married couple does not equal stability. Married couples scream, yell, cheat, hit, and get divorced. It would be nearly impossible to know how the home really is that you're sending a child to. The same is true for unmarried couples that live together. Though, morally, they do not have the upper hand with living arrangements, why is one to assume they cannot raise a fantastic child and give him or her all of the love and attention and discipline he or she could ever need?
I, personally, was brought into this world by a married couple that divorced when I was 5. I eventually then lived with my dad and stepmother in another married couple's home. It was less than ideal at times. To me, marriage is not a magic act or word that makes a family good and stable.
What do you think about this proposal? Should religious beliefs about family trump all? Should the state be able to pass their own religious/moral beliefs onto our state as a whole? Is it discrimination and even going against unmarried couple's rights?