Judge Scraps Mississippi’s Ban On Same-Sex Adoption

Mississippi has the highest percentage of same-sex parents of any state.

A federal judge reminded Mississippi on Thursday that gay couple have the right to adopt children in all 50 states.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan issued a preliminary injunction supporting Kathy Garner and Susan Hrostowski, a Hattiesburg couple who had been blocked from allowing Hrostowski to adopt Garner’s 16-year-old son, Hudson, whom they have raised together since birth.

Garner, director of AIDS Services Coalition in Hattiesburg, says she is “overwhelmed with joy… For us, this has been a long time in the making.”

She added that her son’s response was more typical of an American teenager. “He said ’Cool.’ Then he said congratulations. Then he said he was going to take a nap.”

Jordan ruled that any ban on adoption is unconstitutional after the Supreme Court granted same-sex couples all the rights and benefits of marriage, including adoption.

“[It] 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,” he wrote.

The 2010 census indicated that 29% of same-sex couples in Mississippi were raising children, the highest percentage in any state.

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Mississippi passed its ban on gay adoption in 2000. In 2013, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said he regretted signing it into law.

“The more I read the Constitution, the clearer it became that you just can’t deny rights to a specific class of people just because some are uncomfortable with what they do not understand,” Musgrove told the AP.

A representative said the Mississippi Attorney General’s office will abide by Judge Jordan’s order, and it is unlikely the Department of Human Services will have strong grounds for an appeal.

“The ban is effectively over,” said attorney Roberta Kaplan, who represented Garner and Hrostowski, and was Edie Windsor’s counsel in her watershed 2013 Supreme Court case, as well.

While we cheer this victory, LGBT people in Mississippi still face discrimination: The state Legislature is debating one of the most sweeping anti-LGBT measures yet, .

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House Bill 1523 would protect businesses, government agencies and individuals who deny goods and services to same-sex couples and trans people on religious grounds.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery