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Ark. hearings include proposed ban on homosexuals as foster parents

LITTLE ROCK Ark. (BP)–A proposal to ban homosexuals as foster parents by Arkansas’ Child Welfare Agency Review Board is expected to draw support from Christian groups — and opposition from homosexual — during a series of “Meetings for Public Comment” on proposed changes to licensing standards for child-care facilities.
The hearings, being held in five locations across the state beginning Feb. 9, are designed to offer citizens an opportunity to voice their concerns on proposals submitted by the Arkansas agency. The proposed ban on homosexuals as foster parents is one of about 15 proposals submitted by the board.
Board member David Perry, executive director of the Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, said the proposed ban seeks to “prohibit homes to be used for foster care if any adult members of the person’s household is a homosexual.” He added the proposal “will become law when it becomes promulgated [put into force] after the hearings.”
Perry said the board is charged with “setting minimum licensing standards for child placement and care agencies, foster care, adoption, psychiatric residential child-care facilities and sexual offender programs.”
The hearings, conducted by the Department of Human Services’ child welfare licensing staff, are scheduled to begin Feb 9 in Jonesboro and conclude Feb. 23 in Little Rock. Other dates and locations are Feb. 11, Monticello; Feb. 16, Texarkana; and Feb. 18, Bentonville.
Larry Page, executive director of the Christian Civic Foundation of Arkansas, said he plans to share his support of the proposed ban during one of the sessions and encouraged other concerned Christians to do the same.
By sharing their opinions on the subject, Page explained, Christians “do a number of things: We vouch for God’s truth about the family and something as sacred and basic as marriage. Children need traditional role models of a father and mother. A child does not need modeled for him or her two people of the same sex in an intimate relationship. Homosexuals serving as foster parents are not conducive to a child being acclimated to a natural relationship.”
Gov. Mike Huckabee said he does not think the homosexual foster care issue will be a major point of concern for the state. Pointing to state sodomy laws, he commented, “I don’t think it’s going to happen in Arkansas.”
“First of all, we’re within rights to state the specific parameters for foster parents,” he said. “As long as Arkansas has a statute on the books that says that sodomy is illegal, it would be inconsistent for us to have that law and then turn around and say, ‘Oh, but it’s OK for us to look the other way when it comes to the adoption or foster parent issue.’ We are simply acting in consistency with Arkansas law and the customs and mores of our state, which is reflected by our law.”
Perry encouraged all those interested in attending the hearings to share their opinions. “It’s important because the welfare of children in foster care and the values system they are exposed to in foster care is at stake.”

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  • Russell N. Dilday