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But I bring up the politically incorrect comments I’ve heard because it astonishes me that it somehow has become unspeakable to say abused and neglected children might want and need a traditional mother-father home.

For the time being, Arkansas voters have decided to exclude all unmarried couples, gay and straight, from foster care, and encourage - even pressure - more married couples to step up as foster parents.

The new law is “all about … living arrangements,” said John Thomas, vice president of the Arkansas Family Council, whose Family Council Action Committee (FCAC) led the petition drive.

Many foster children come from cohabiting homes, he said. “One of the arguments we tried to make was, ‘You want to pull them out of [a cohabiting home] and put them right back in [one] again?’”

“Five thousand years of human history, common sense, every major world religion, and scores of scientific studies agree that the best place for a child is in a home with a married mother and father,” the FCAC said. “If the State of Arkansas is going to create families through adoption or foster care, we owe it to the children to create the best ones possible.”

Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at