Judge halts Mississippi same-sex adoption ban

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Mississippi's law that banned same-sex adoption is one of a stream of state laws attempting to limit the impact of the legalization of gay marriage. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

Mississippi's law that banned same-sex adoption is one of a stream of state laws attempting to limit the impact of the legalization of gay marriage. Religion News Service photo by Adelle M. Banks

JACKSON, Miss. — A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction to bar Mississippi from carrying out its law preventing same sex couples from adopting, according to a court order filed Thursday (March 31).

The order was issued the day after the state Senate passed the Religious Liberty Accommodation Act, which would allow businesses to deny services to LGBT people. It also would allow clerks to deny same-sex marriage licenses to gay couples.

Written by U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III, the order argued that the state’s law barring the adoptions “obviously targets married gay couples and limits their rights.” Furthermore, the court argued that the state’s Department of Human Services policy violates the constitution’s equal protection clause due to last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that laws against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.


RELATED STORY: Mississippi bill would let businesses rebuff LGBT people


DHS’ current adoption policy doesn’t allow discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin, but sexual orientation and gender identity aren’t included, court records show.

The order was filed in a lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Human Services that argues the state’s adoption policy is unconstitutional. On behalf of four same-sex couples, the Campaign for Southern Equality and Family Equality Council filed the lawsuit last year against DHS, as well as Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood, who were dismissed as defendants in the order.

At the time of the lawsuit, Bryant told the Associated Press, “I hope the attorney general will vigorously defend the State of Mississippi against this lawsuit.”

According to data from the 2010 Census, 29% of Mississippi’s same-sex couples were raising children under 18 in their households. However, the state’s law has prevented the approval of adoption applications until now.