A federal judge on Thursday ruled the only remaining same-sex adoption ban in the country — in Mississippi — unconstitutional, halting enforcement of the ban.
US District Court Judge Daniel Jordan wrote in his preliminary injunction order, referring to the US Supreme Court's 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide:
[T]he majority opinion foreclosed litigation over laws interfering with the right to marry and 'rights and responsibilities intertwined with marriage.' … The majority of the United States Supreme Court dictates the law of the land, and lower courts are bound to follow it. In this case, that means that [the same-sex adoption ban] violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
Following the Supreme Court's decision in favor marriage equality, all states except Mississippi allow same-sex couples to jointly adopt children, and second-parent and stepparent laws in all states technically allow same-sex partners to adopt their partner's children, although sometimes only if the couple is married.
With Thursday's ruling, no state has an effective same-sex adoption ban. But the ruling could be appealed.
The ruling is much-welcome news for Mississippi's LGBTQ community. On the same day, the Mississippi Senate passed a religious freedom bill that explicitly allows anti-LGBTQ discrimination — although the state's nondiscrimination laws are already so bad that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is already totally legal in Mississippi.