Witness death delays gay foster parent lawsuit

(March 26, 2004) - (Little Rock-AP) -- A judge considering whether to overturn the state's ban on gay foster parents has postponed the case after the defense's star expert witness died in a car accident. Doctor Charles C. Gist, a Little Rock child psychiatrist, was killed in a head-on collision north of Shreveport, Louisiana, on Wednesday -- a day before he was scheduled to testify. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox set the trial to continue on October Fifth. The state's lawyer, Kathy L. Hall, says she must find a replacement witness, let the plaintiffs interview that witness and possibly find other witnesses to dispute that testimony. Three plaintiffs are challenging the 1999 policy, which bans foster children from living in a home with any homosexual adult. The trial was expected to end yesterday.