Same-sex sex marriage is a controversial and divisive issue in the United States, and Mississippi is no exception. While same-sex marriage is now fully legal in Mississippi, there are still many challenges facing same-sex couples.
Same-sex couples in the southern United States often face discrimination and prejudice due to the region’s conservative cultural and religious values. One of the main challenges facing same-sex couples in Mississippi is discrimination in the workplace. Though there are federal protections in place, Mississippi law has not adopted those and in fact, our state laws state it is still legal to fire or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This of course can make it difficult for LGBTQ+ individuals to find and keep employment. Additionally, many southern businesses and organizations have been known to refuse service to same-sex couples. This discrimination can make it difficult for same-sex couples to find housing, employment, and healthcare, as well as access to other essential services. Furthermore, hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals are disproportionately high in the south. These factors can make it hard for same-sex couples to live openly and safely in states like Mississippi.
Adoption and Parenting
There are also issues surrounding adoption and parenting for same-sex couples in Mississippi. In Mississippi, the adoption statute specifies that same-sex couples are not legally able to adopt, but the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2016 in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry, and therefore also have the right to adopt. It is only through the Obergefell decision that LGBTQ+ individuals are able to adopt in Mississippi. Even still, Mississippi is one of the states with a religious freedom law that allows private adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.
It’s important to note that adoption laws vary by state and it’s always best to consult with a local attorney or adoption agency to understand the specific laws and regulations in Mississippi. Same-sex couples seeking to adopt should be aware of the laws and regulations in their state, and work with an attorney to navigate the process. It is also important to work with a local attorney if you have adopted a child in another state or country to ensure your paperwork is enforceable in this state.
However, it’s important to also consider that adoption is a process that can be long and can also be emotionally and financially taxing. Same-sex couples may face additional challenges during the adoption process, such as discrimination from adoption agencies or birth parents, which can make the process even more difficult. Additionally, some agencies may be unwilling to work with same-sex couples, and this can limit the options available to them.
Despite these challenges, same-sex couples in Mississippi can still adopt and build their families through adoption. It’s essential for same-sex couples seeking to adopt to be aware of their rights and to find an agency or attorney who will support them throughout the process. It’s also important for them to seek out support groups or organizations that can provide additional resources and support.
Change is Happening
Despite these challenges, the fight for equal rights for same-sex couples in Mississippi continues. There are many organizations and advocacy groups working to promote equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community in Mississippi, and there has been progress in recent years. For example, in 2021, Mississippi passed a law protecting LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. This was a significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community in Mississippi, and a sign of progress towards greater equality and acceptance.
Call a Family Law Attorney to Discuss Your Rights
If you have questions about your rights as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or if you are thinking about adoption, consider speaking with a qualified, experienced family law attorney at Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Our firm can handle your case with a balance of compassion and confidence to guide you through your legal matters. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn about your options.
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