Last US state to ban same-sex adoption facing legal challenge

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Same-sex adoption is currently legal in 49 of the 50 US states – and now there’s a lawsuit in the 50th.

Following the Supreme Court ruling that legalised same-sex marriage earlier this year, married gay couple can also adopt children in nearly every US state.

However the state of Mississippi maintains a specific ban – and is now gearing up for another round of legal action.

The Deep South state is the only one to maintain a law,  Mississippi Code 93-17-3(5), which affirms “adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited”.

The Campaign for Southern Equality filed a case this week on behalf of four Mississippi same-sex couples, in the US District Court of the Southern District of Mississippi.

According to the Clarion Ledger, the complainants aim “to redress the deprivation of constitutional rights caused by one sentence in Mississippi’s adoption law”.

The state’s attorney general has not indicated if he will defend the law, but governor Phil Bryant told AP: “I hope the attorney general will vigorously defend the State of Mississippi against this lawsuit.”

It comes as no surprise to most commentators that Mississippi is the last state on the issue.

Lawmakers in the state mulled the prospect of stopping state weddings entirely after the ruling on same-sex weddings.

Republican lawmaker Andy Gipson, who chairs the state’s House Judiciary Committee, said there would be “pros and cons” to abolishing the state marriage license, saying: “I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not.”