Mississippi, the last remaining state that did not allow same-sex couples to adopt children, was barred from enforcing the ban on Thursday. District Court Judge Daniel Jordan III deemed the practice unconstitutional.
Judge Jordan noted that the ban on adoption “obviously targets married gay couples and limits their rights,” reported USA Today.
His preliminary injunction order reads, “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 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.”
The ruling could still be appealed, noted Vox.
Despite this development, Mississippi is far from progressive in the LGBTQ rights sphere. The ruling allowing same-sex couples to adopt comes alongside the advancement of the Religious Liberty Accommodation Act, which has been widely criticized as being “anti-gay.”
The act would allow businesses to deny services to LGBTQ individuals based on religious grounds. For example, religious adoption agencies would be able to turn away same-sex couples despite same-sex adoption being legal in all states.
Religious clerks would also be able to deny marriage licenses to gay couples—though the act does mandate that the marriage be able to go on without delay.
The Religious Liberty Accommodation Act would also allow discrimination against non-LGBTQ individuals who go against religious norms; unwed parents for example.
Mississippi residents already lack legal protection from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, as do numerous other states. The Religious Liberty Accommodations Act, if passed, would serve as a barrier to improved civil rights and marriage equality.
Update 09/11/2016: The Religious Liberty Accommodation Act was signed 5th April 2016