We are Family and Citizens, too...!
We have come to expect silly legislature from each session of our governing body. Including this session with the naming of state butterflies, colored license plates and whether to apostrophe or not apostrophe Arkansas, however, the recent attempt to usurp a 2006 Arkansas Supreme Court decision on the issue of gay people as foster parents is just to much to take. Shawn Womack (R, Mountain Home) introduced SB 959 on 3.5.07, seeking to outlaw lesbians and gays, including blood relatives and those who co-habitate from being responsible adoptive or foster parents. Mr Womack and his cadre of supporters including co-writer, Focus on the Family's Jerry Cox are attempting to cherry pick the law with re-interpretations and additional "save the children," verbage distinctly aimed at gay citizens and nebulously covering those they deem unfit to care for children. Statements such as " ...this is not a gay and lesbian issue, but a concern dealing with the welfare of children.." is not only patronizing but insipid. We abhor the thought that this measure has made it out of committee( 3.12.07) and is being sent to the Senate for consideration. Below you will find contact information for committee members and phone number to Governor Beebe. Community reminder: "None of us are free, until all of are free..!"
The telephone number for Governor Mike Beebe is: 501-682-2345 Members of the Senate Public Health Committee include:
Chair Jack Critcher: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair Tracy Steele: email@example.com
Senator Percy Malone: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Hank Wilkins IV: email@example.com
Senator Barbara Horn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Randy Laverty: no email listed
Senator Bill Pritchard: email@example.com
Senator Jack Crumbly: no email listedcall 501.682.2902 for additional Senator information or to leave messages.
Other links: www.arkansas.gov/senate/seantors.html
Here is the E-mail I personally forwarded:
As a citizen and registered voter, I am deeply disturbed with the recent introduction of Shane Womack's SB 959 and it's possible consideration by the Senate. This measure simply has no merit in the court of common sense. Furthermore, it serves to hamper those caring individuals who are willing to be responsible foster or adoptive parents for children who so desperately need stable homes as well as loving environments.
I can't imagine that you as lawmakers would dismiss overwhelming scientific testimony and a unanimous 2006, DHS v. Howard ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court for the inflamed rhetoric of Focus on the Family and their supporters who wish to enforce barriers in the name of child welfare.
The passage of this bill would have far reaching affects in our state. Including costly court challenges wasting taxpayer dollars that could be used far more effectively, increasing an already burdened system with further delays to positive placements and demonizing a segment of citizens that have served as foster parents in Arkansas before the ban despite their unilateral concern for the health, safety and welfare of children statewide.
In closing, I implore you to vote a resounding "No" on SB 959, as a statement that this legislation isn't in the best interest of children, their caretakers or the rule of law as mandated by the courts. Thank you for listening.
Cornelius Mabin, Jr.