News Brief: Mississippi Suit Opposes Ban on Same Sex Adoption

After changes to U.S. same-sex marriage laws, couples in Mississippi await the results of legal action to repeal a longstanding ban on same-sex adoption.

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Same-sex adoption law

Many hoped the U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling to recognize marriage as a constitutional right for same-sex couples would pave the way for changes in same-sex adoption law. Now, a suit filed in Mississippi is attempting to do just that. Since 2000, a state law has prohibited adoption by same-sex couples. Amidst society’s rapidly changing views, the Campaign for Southern Equality, the Family Equality Council, and four same-sex couples seek to strike down this law in a suit that calls the ban “an outdated relic of a time when courts and legislature believed that it was somehow OK to discriminate against gay people simply because they are gay.”

Former Mississippi governor Ronnie Musgrove, who signed the ban into law, says he now regrets having done so. In an opinion piece for The Huffington Post, he wrote: “I believed at the time this was a principled position based on my faith. But I no longer believe it was right. There are far too many children in America in need of a loving home, who are shuttled between temporary homes and group shelters that fail to provide the stable, nurturing environment all children deserve. As I have gotten older, I came to understand that a person’s sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to be a good parent.”

In November 2014, a prior challenge was brought to the Mississippi ban. Judge Carlton W. Reeves ruled the ban unconstitutional, but put action on hold awaiting further court decisions.Two couples in the suit hope to adopt the children they have been raising together for years; the other two hope to create families through foster adoption.

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