ADF Riding to the Rescue in Arkansas

Last month we mentioned that the Arkansas Family Council was seeking in intervene in the lawsuit challenging the initiative passed last November barring gay couples from adopting children because they did not believe that the state’s Attorney General would work hard enough to defend it and demanding that the Alliance Defense Fund be allowed to step in to do so.

Today, a state judge granted the request:

A state judge ruled Friday that a conservative group can intervene in a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ ban on unmarried couples adopting or fostering children.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza on Friday granted the Arkansas Family Council’s request to help the state defend Initiated Act 1 that the council worked to put on the November election ballot.

The judge said after an hour-long hearing that his decision was not a reflection of how he felt about Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s ability to handle the case. Piazza said he believed allowing the group to help defend the measure would allow the case to be “fully developed.”

“I’m a firm believer that you can’t be afraid of what someone is going to say,” Piazza said.

Byron Babione, an attorney representing the council, said the conservative group had a unique interest in the case because it had pushed to get the measure on the ballot and had mobilized volunteers during its successful fall campaign.

Babione also noted that McDaniel and Gov. Mike Beebe, both Democrats, had opposed the act. Beebe and McDaniel had both publicly opposed the measure during the election, and McDaniel’s political action committee gave $1,000 to a group that campaigned against the new restriction.

“Nobody really likes to have their interests represented by somebody who doesn’t believe in their cause,” said Babione, who is senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund.