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Arkansas Department of Human Services v. Cole

Supreme Court of Arkansas
380 S.W.3d 429 (Ark. 2011)


Arkansas voters passed a ballot initiative known as the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act of 2008 (the Act) that prohibited unmarried, cohabiting sexual partners from adopting children. Sheila Cole and others (plaintiffs) brought suit, challenging the constitutionality of the Act. The Arkansas Department of Human Services and other state defendants (the state) (defendants) argued that the adoption of children was a privilege and not a fundamental right. The state also argued that striking down the Act would prevent the state from considering non-cohabitation agreements or orders in child custody, visitation, and neglect proceedings. The circuit court found that the Act was unconstitutional under the fundamental right to privacy implicit in the Arkansas Constitution. The state appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brown, J.)

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