Mississippi Adoption Ban For Same-Sex Couples Challenged in Court

by Rev . Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

A federal lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s ban on adoption by same-sex couples has just been filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi. Campaign for Southern Equality v. Mississippi Department of Human Services seeks to strike down that ban and to establish that Mississippi same-sex couples have a right to adopt.

Mississippi is the last state in the nation with an adoption ban like this still on the books.

This law is discriminatory and unconstitutional. It is also completely at odds with the human reality that same-sex couples make wonderful parents, a fact borne out by countless LGBT families and by an ample body of research.

Across Mississippi, 29 percent of same-sex couples are already raising kids (the highest rate in the nation), and they urgently need the ability to adopt. Even more same-sex couples are ready to provide loving homes to kids in the foster care system, who urgently need a forever home.

Here at the Campaign for Southern Equality, we’re honored to be part of the team behind this case.

Building on the momentum of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling this summer, we’re ready to keep pushing for full equality in every corner of the South.

As this lawsuit demonstrates, discriminatory laws remain on the books and LGBT people and families continue to be denied basic rights and protections across the South. That must change.

Four brave same-sex couples—Kari Lunsford and Tinora Sweeten-Lunsford; Donna Phillips and Janet Smith; Kathryn Garner and Susan Hrostowski; and Jessica Harbuck and Brittany Rowell—and the Campaign for Southern Equality and Family Equality Council are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Across Mississippi, there are same-sex couples like these who are ready and able to provide a loving, stable home to children, and there are waiting children in Mississippi’s foster care system who desperately need a home.

What stands between them is a discriminatory law that must be struck down.

It’s time for Mississippi to treat LGBT families as equal in every area of the law—including the right to adopt.

Photo by Sarah Schoonover