In a move that has disappointed LGBT rights groups and wider child welfare groups alike, Arizona governor Jan Brewer on Monday signed a bill into law that instructs adoption and foster agencies acting on behalf of the state to give priority to married heterosexual couples.
SB 1188 as the bill is known does not constitute an outright ban on same-sex couples adopting but will put them at a greater disadvantage during the adoption/foster care process. The same for prospective parents that are single. Opponents of the bill said that it is overreaching and a fundamentally “bad law” that takes focus from the key issue: child welfare.
The Advocate reports that Brewer signed the bill despite a protests from constituents who sent around five hundred postcards asking her to veto.
“Arizona desperately needed Governor Brewer to demonstrate real leadership today. Instead, we were given another bad law enacted out of political allegiance rather than what’s best for Arizona and Arizona’s children.
“The governor’s action today is harmful to children in foster care and group homes who are seeking a permanent home and the support of a loving, caring family.
“SB 1188 takes the focus off of what’s in the best interest of a child when adoption decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, according to what’s in a child’s best interest. Each case is unique. For example, adoption authorities may have the choice between placing a child with a beloved single aunt — or complete strangers. The only consideration should be determining what’s in the best interest of the child.
“Experienced child health and social service authorities, not politicians, should make adoption decisions. Interference by politicians with bills like SB 1188 has the real potential of hurting children. Not only will SB 1188 have a chilling effect on single people coming forward to adopt children, it could result in a child being placed in a home that is not in their best interest.”
Brewer opted to reject other controversial bills that had landed on her desk including a bill requiring presidential candidates to present “long-form” birth certificates or two or more other proof of citizenship documents in order to qualify for the ballot. This she called “a bridge too far.”
Brewer also vetoed a law that would have allowed for guns on college campuses. Read more here.
An adoption ban in Arkansas was overturned by an appellate court last month when it ruled to support a lower court that a measure preventing all unmarried cohabiting couples from adopting was unconstitutional. Read more on that here.