Dept. of Human Services v. Howard

367 Ark. 55
Brief Filed: 12/05
Court: Arkansas Supreme Court
Year of Decision: 2006

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 108KB)

Issue

At issue is a challenge to an administrative regulation promulgated by the Arkansas Child Welfare Agency Review Board that prohibits anyone who has a “homosexual” adult household member from providing foster care for children

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation (discrimination; adoption)

Facts

The U.S. District Court for Nebraska held unconstitutional an amendment to the Nebraska Constitution prohibiting any form of recognition of same-sex relationships. The district court held, inter alia, that the amendment (Section 29) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

APA's Position

APA’s brief provided research consistent with what APA has provided as amicus in a variety of other cases including cases involving parental rights, challenges to sodomy statutes and other GLBT rights issues. Additionally, APA drew on research presented in APA recent amicus filings addressing same-sex marriage that specifically address research on gay and lesbian persons and couples as parents, e.g., that gay and lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents and that children raised by gay and lesbian persons demonstrate no deficits as compared to children of heterosexual parents in a range of attributes. APA’s brief was joined by the Arkansas Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Association of Social Workers, Arkansas Chapter.

Results

The Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously upheld the lower state court’s ruling that Section 200.3.2 of the Minimum Licensing Standards for Child Welfare Agencies (“Regulation 200.3.2”) was unconstitutional. Regulation 200.3.2 had provided that “No person may serve as a foster parent if any adult member of that person’s household is a homosexual.” In striking down this regulation, the Court relied heavily on the trial court’s findings that children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare just as well as children raised by heterosexual parents. The research presented in the American Psychological Association’s brief supported the Court’s conclusion that the trial court’s factual findings had been correct.