By Mollie Bryant
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.
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 Department of Human Services’ policy violates the constitution’s equal protection clause as the result of last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling that laws against same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.
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, whom Jordan dismissed as defendants.
In a written response to the ruling, Roberta Kaplan, lead attorney in the case, said: “We are obviously thrilled with today’s ruling, but our clients are beyond ecstatic. And that is exactly as it should be. Two sets of our clients have waited many (almost 9 and 16) years to become legal parents to the children they have loved and cared for since birth. We hope that it should finally be clear that discrimination against gay people simply because they are gay violates the Constitution in all 50 states, including Mississippi.”
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