Federal Court Rules Same-Sex Adoption Is Legal In All 50 States
Federal judges recently ruled Mississippi’s ban on same-sex couples adopting children as unconstitutional, thus marking the legality of gay adoption legal in all 50 states. U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan ordered a preliminary injunction, effectively blocking Mississippi from enforcing its anti-gay adoption law that has stood for the past 16 years.
The Supreme Court ruling cited the previous decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide this past summer. Jordan stated the decision “foreclosed litigation over laws interfering with the right to marry and rights and responsibilities intertwined with the marriage. It also seems highly unlikely that the same court that held a state cannot ban gay marriage because it would deny benefits – expressly including the right to adopt – would then conclude that married gay couples can be denied that very same benefit.”
Four same-sex couples filed a challenge to Mississippi’s law last year, backed by the Campaign for Southern Equality and the Family Equality Council. Lead attorney Roberta Kaplan stated:
“Two sets of our clients have waited many (almost 9 and 16) years to become legal parents to the children they have loved and cared for since birth. We hope that it should finally be clear that discrimination against gay people simply because they are gay violates the Constitution in all 50 states, including Mississippi.”
While several other states, like Alabama, Florida, Nebraska, and Michigan, have implemented similar legislation banning adoption for same-sex couples in the past, Mississippi remained as the last holdout; all other states have had their discriminatory legislation overturned. While the Supreme Court’s recent decision is a hallmark moment, some states still place foster restrictions and other roadblocks for same-sex couples.
State director of the Human Rights Campaign Rob Hill praised the ruling, calling it a “welcome decision” that “affirms that qualified same-sex couples in Mississippi seeking to become adoptive or foster parents are entitled to equal treatment under the law and commits to the well-being of children in our state who need loving homes.” He continued on to say that the elected leaders “are on the wrong side of history” and the decision made by the Supreme Court confirms that “they are also on the wrong side of the law.”
Former Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove, who originally signed the adoption bill into law, has since stated that he supports the overturning of the legislation. He wrote in a blog post that the original decision to ban gay adoption was one “that all of us made together”, and “has made it harder for an untold number of children to grow up in happy, healthy homes in Mississippi – and that breaks my heart.”