The American Civil Liberties Union won an important victory last week after an Arkansas court struck down a law that bans any unmarried person who lives with a partner from serving as an adoptive or foster parent in the state.

According to an ACLU article, the ACLU filed its complaint against the law, know as Act 1, in December 2008:

Plaintiffs participating in the case included a lesbian couple who adopted an Arkansas foster child before Act 1 was passed and would like to open their home to a second special needs child, a grandmother who was barred by Act 1 from adopting her own grandchild and several married heterosexual couples who would have been prohibited by Act 1 from arranging for certain friends or relatives to adopt their children if they die or become incapacitated.

...In today's order, Judge Christopher C. Piazza of the Pulaski County Circuit Court held that the law casts an unreasonably broad net and did not "serve the State's interest in determining what is in the best interest of the child." He also noted that he was troubled by the fact that the law targeted gay people. The state of Arkansas is expected to appeal the decision.

The ACLU is pleased with the court's decision:

"We are happy that the court recognized that Act 1 harms Arkansas's foster children because it eliminates potential qualified parents," said Holly Dickson, staff attorney with the ACLU of Arkansas. "We have a critical shortage of homes now and this ban was denying good, loving homes to our most vulnerable children."

"This law was harmful to families and children," said Christine Sun, senior counsel with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project. "The discriminatory policies embodied by this law did a disservice to children in need of a loving home by reducing the number of potential adoptive and foster parents. We are delighted that the court has found that it should not stand."

Read the full article, and learn more about the ACLU's related work here: