Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hutchinson Skewers Beebe's Excuses on Gay Foster Parents

Hutchinson: Beebe Misstates Facts On Gay Foster Care Case

GOP Candidate Says Attorney General's Comments in Debate Are Inaccurate

Little Rock, Ark. – Asa Hutchinson, the 2006 Republican nominee for Arkansas Governor, said today that his opponent, Mike Beebe, is misrepresenting the facts in his attempts to explain why he failed to defend the state in a case that opens the door for foster children to be placed in homosexual households.

Hutchinson noted that, when the issue was raised in a debate in Little Rock Tuesday night between the two candidates, Beebe either misrepresented the facts or does not understand the law when he claimed that he could not get involved in the case as Attorney General.

"The purpose of debates is for candidates to clarify their positions so that voters can make informed decisions on Election Day, but my opponent dodged some of the most important questions raised last night," Hutchinson said. "Mike Beebe has made a pattern and practice of side-stepping questions about his record on the issues and, in this case, flat-out misrepresenting the facts on the gay foster care case."

In the debate, Hutchinson criticized Beebe for ducking a lawsuit filed by the ACLU challenging the constitutionality of the state's policy banning gay foster care.

Last night, Beebe claimed he did not enter into the case for three reasons: (1) The case was handled during the tenure of his predecessor, Attorney General Mark Pryor, not during his; and (2) because state law requires the Attorney General to be invited by the agency involved, and the Attorney General's Office was not invited to participate by the affected agencies (the Department of Human Services or the Child Welfare Board); (3) the agencies involved have their own lawyers.

Hutchinson said the first two assertions are simply incorrect, and the third is irrelevant.

The gay foster care case was still in litigation and had not even gone to the Supreme Court when Beebe took office as Attorney General. The case wasn't even settled until a few months ago, while Mike Beebe has been Attorney General for the last four years.

Hutchinson also said that Beebe is wrong in saying that the Attorney General's office must be recruited to participate in a challenge to the state's Constitution.

Arkansas Code Annotated 16-111-106 provides the Attorney General must be notified in all cases involving a constitutional challenge and be given the opportunity to be heard.

(continued - click WEDNESDAY below for rest of story)


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

"As Attorney General, Mike Beebe does not have to be asked to represent the state -- he has the right, in fact the duty, to do so when a constitutional challenge as important as this one arises," Hutchinson said. "He has used this power in cases that have been politically advantageous to him but has claimed inability to act in cases that are politically risky."

Hutchinson noted that Attorney General Beebe stepped up and intervened in school litigation – litigation that, like the gay foster case, initiated before Beebe's tenure as Attorney General. Hutchinson also noted that the Department of Education also has its own lawyers. Yet Beebe was perfectly willing to intervene in this high-profile case involving improving education.

Hutchinson also noted that, as Attorney General, Beebe intervened in a dispute between the Arkansas poultry industry and the state of Oklahoma.

"Mr. Beebe seems to have a selective set of requirements when it comes to which cases he will get involved in and which he will avoid," said Hutchinson. "A leader cannot simply pick and choose which challenges he will take on. He failed to do his duty and by refusing to represent the state he is saying this is not an important issue. I disagree, as do the people of Arkansas."

"As the state's Attorney General, Mike Beebe has an obligation to defend the state against Constitutional challenges, but he passed the buck on a controversial matter rather than handle it himself as he should have," said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson spoke today at several stops on his GROW ARKANSAS bus tour in Central Arkansas on Wednesday as he visited sites in Pulaski, Saline, Hot Spring and Grant County.

2:24 PM, October 18, 2006  

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