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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Put Children's Needs Before Adults' Bigotry -- Stop Arkansas's Initiated Act 1

I just received the message below from BiUnity of Philadelphia's listserv. I've made a donation and hope you will too.


This is Laura Bellows, Field Coordinator from Arkansas Families First, the campaign against Initiated Act 1 in Arkansas. Initiated Act 1, which Arkansas voters will decide on this November, would prohibit unmarried co-habitating couples from adopting or fostering children. Although this act is intended as an attack on the LGBT community, it also would prevent unmarried opposite-sex couples from adopting or fostering.

I am asking for your help and contributions because, although Act 1 has not received a lot of national attention, we believe that our campaign is very important. This is the first ballot initiative to threaten adoption/foster care rights of unmarried couples. If it passes, right-wing groups across the country may try to replicate its success.

Luckily, the campaign against Initiated Act 1 is working. Arkansas press coverage of the issue has been overwhelmingly positive, partially thanks to our extensive coalition of child welfare organizations, such as Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and Arkansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I am asking for your contribution because we still need an extra push. To do that, we need your organization's help. At this point, all of the money we raise will go directly to advertising.

Please share information about the campaign in Arkansas with your members. I am pasting a message below that you can email to your listserv, post to your blog, or use in a publication.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. You may reach me at or on my cell phone at 832-489-6465. Our website is Thank you for your time and for your assistance!

Laura Bellows
Field Coordinator
Arkansas Families First


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Arkansas Initiated Act 1 is the first ballot measure of its kind: if it were to pass, it would bar unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children. The only other state to have such a restrictive law is Utah. Arkansas Family Council, an offshoot of Focus on the Family, would rather deny loving homes to needy children than have committed unmarried couples raise children.

Luckily, Arkansas Families First, a coalition group made up of a variety of child welfare groups and progressive organizations, has been working to defeat this ban. Last week, the Arkansas Department of Human Services overturned a previous policy that barred unmarried couples in favor of case-by-case foster care:
read more here. Governor Mike Beebe, who enjoys very high approval ratings in Arkansas, has stated that he opposes Initiated Act 1 and supports case-by-case adoption and foster care.

This week, Arkansas Families First released a video asking voters to vote NO on Act 1. This short video features adult former foster children and experts in the fields of child protection, psychology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and clergy who explain the negative consequences if the initiative were to pass. Watch the video here:

We need to get this information out to more people in Arkansas; our research shows that voters are very likely to vote NO on Act 1 once they hear our message. Please help us defeat this ballot measure: go to our webpage at and make a donation.

To defeat this measure, Arkansas Families First needs your help:
go to the website now.

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