Same sex couples can now legally adopt in all 50 US states
The move marks the end of anti-LGBT adoption laws across the country.
A federal judge has ruled that Mississippi’s ban on same-sex couples adopting children is unconstitutional – making gay adoption legal in all 50 states.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, citing the Supreme Court’s decision legalise same-sex marriage across the US last June.
The injunction blocks Mississippi – which has been deemed America’s least tolerant state – from enforcing its 16-year-old anti-gay adoption law.
The Supreme Court ruling “foreclosed litigation over laws interfering with the right to marry and rights and responsibilities intertwined with marriage,” Jordan wrote in his ruling.
“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.”
The challenge to Mississippi’s law was filed last year by four same-sex couples, who were joined in their fight by the Campaign for Southern Equality and the Family Equality Council.
“Two sets of our clients have waited many years to become legal parents to the children they have loved and cared for since birth,” Roberta Kaplan, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said.
“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.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s Mississippi state director Rob Hill also praised the ruling.
“This welcome decision 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 said in a statement.
The one-sentence Mississippi law — which reads, simply, “Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited” — was adopted in 2000.
Several other states – including Alabama, Florida, Nebraska and Michigan – have previously overturned similar bans.
The ruling came soon after Mississippi’s Senate passed a “religious freedom“ bill, its most homophobic to date.