A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] struck down [opinion, PDF] Mississippi’s ban on adoption by same-sex partners on Thursday. The Campaign for Southern Equality, Family Equality Council [advocacy websites] and two female same-sex couples challenged the ban as unconstitutional for discriminating against legally married couples based on the gender of the spouses. The state enacted this law in 2000 when some states began legalizing same-sex marriage. According to the complaint, hundreds of families and thousands of children in Mississippi are disrespected and denied concrete rights, benefits and duties that come with legal parentage. Judge Daniel Jordan III ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to adopt violated the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] and adoption remain controversial issues around the world. In June the governor of Michigan signed a law [JURIST report] that allows private adoption agencies to deny placements with same-sex couples for religious reasons. In May the Supreme Court of the US Virgin Islands ruled [JURIST report] that second-parent adoptions by same-sex couples are permitted under Virgin Islands law. Last April the Florida Senate voted to repeal [JURIST report] the state’s ban on same-sex adoption. In March of last year the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled that the state must recognize [JURIST report] the out-of-state adoption of a biological mother’s same-sex partner. Also last March the Slovenian Parliament passed legislation [JURIST report] granting same-sex marriage and adoption rights amid public opposition from conservative and religious groups. In February 2015 the Constitutional Court of Colombia upheld [JURIST report] a restriction that same-sex couples cannot adopt children that have no biological relation to either parent.