Mississippi adoption ban challenged in federal court

Mississippi adoption ban challenged in federal court

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Four couples are suing the Mississippi Department of Human Services over the state's law banning adoption by same-sex couples.

According to the Campaign for Southern Equality, Mississippi is the only state left in the nation that bans gay couples from adopting without regard for their qualifications as parents or the best interests of the child.

"Mississippi's ban on adoption by gay and lesbian couples blatantly discriminates against loving families, unfairly harms innocent children, and plainly cannot be reconciled with the constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection as recently interpreted by the Supreme Court," says lead counsel Roberta Kaplan.

The case, Campaign for Southern Equality v. Mississippi Department of Human Services, was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on behalf of four same-sex couples: Kari Lunsford and Tinora Sweeten-Lunsford, who are seeking to adopt a child; Brittany Rowell and Jessica Harbuck, also seeking to adopt; Donna Phillips and Janet Smith, parents to a young daughter; and Kathryn Garner and Susan Hrostowski, who have a 15-year-old son.

You can view the lawsuit documents here: http://bit.ly/1DJGyii

According to data from the 2010 Census, 29 percent of the 3,484 same-sex couples currently living in Mississippi are raising children under the age of 18 in their homes. As of 2014, 996 same-sex couple households in Mississippi were raising 1,401 children, according to the Williams Institute at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.

There are currently approximately 100 children in Mississippi who are in foster care and legally available for adoption, but who have not been matched with parents who can adopt them.

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