Cole v. Arkansas - Case Profile

VICTORY! On April 7, 2011, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a ruling striking down Act 1, a law prohibiting adoption by unmarried couples.

Sheila Cole plays with her granddaughter as partner Jennifer Owens watches

Cole v. Arkansas challenges Arkansas Act 1, a ballot initiative passed in 2008 making it illegal for unmarried people who cohabit with a partner to adopt or foster children.

In November 2008, voters passed Act 1, a new law that bans any unmarried person who lives with a partner from serving as an adoptive or foster parent in the state of Arkansas.

The ACLU is asking a state court to strike the ban down, arguing that Act 1 violates the federal and state constitutional rights to equal protection and due process. Participating in the case are 20 individuals from nine different families, including a lesbian who lives with her partner of nine years and is the only relative able and willing to adopt her grandchild who is now in Arkansas state care, several married heterosexual couples who have relatives or friends disqualified by Act 1 who they want to adopt their children if they die, and a heterosexual woman who wants to be a foster or adoptive parent but can’t because she lives with her partner of five years.

Status: On April 7, 2011, the Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a ruling striking down Act 1.

Statistics image