Same-sex adoption became legal in all 50 states Tuesday after the final holdout, Mississippi, failed to appeal a recent federal ruling that deemed its ban on same-sex adoption unconstitutional. Mississippi had until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to appeal the ruling and failed to do so, effectively letting the ban die. "Mississippi was the last state in the nation that prohibited adoption by gay couples, so in all 50 states, gay couples are allowed to adopt kids, as it should be," Roberta Kaplan, one of the case's lead lawyers, told BuzzFeed News. "As far as the state is concerned, gay couples and their kids can't be treated differently than anyone else."
The law, which had been in place since 2000, was initially challenged in 2015 by four same-sex couples who wanted to adopt together or who were already raising children together. The federal court ruled in March that the ban violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. "I've been waiting 16 years to be able to adopt my son," one of the plaintiffs told Buzzfeed News, "so I'm overjoyed."