As the debate raged about Mississippi’s controversial religious freedom law, the attorney general’s Office quietly allowed a deadline to defend the state’s gay adoption ban. This effectively killed the 16-year-old law at midnight Tuesday. Mississippi was the only country that prohibited same-sex couples adopting. After a lawsuit brought by three lesbian couples, U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan issued an injunction to strike down the ban. Roberta Kaplan was the lead attorney in the case at the time. She said that she wasn’t sure if the state would appeal the decision. Kaplan stated, “I’ve been in this game for a long time enough to know that although I was hoping they wouldn’t appeal, and while it wasn’t clear that there were any grounds for appeal, it’s not unusual for your expectations to be disappointed sometimes.” Kaplan stated that there was no legal argument remaining. “The (U.S. Supreme Court) could not have been clearer at this point. Gay couples have a right be treated equally with regard to their families.” Neither Kaplan nor the governor’s offices responded to requests for comment. The decision to not challenge the case was welcomed with joy by the three plaintiffs. Brittany Rowell (one of six plaintiffs) said that she discovered the information shortly after midnight and sent an email to the other parties. Rowell stated, “It’s an enormous relief, really.” “We received the decision a few week ago and it’s been a waiting match. We have been waiting with baited breath to see if it would be challenged by the state. Rowell and Jessica Harbuck are the only couple not involved in the lawsuit. Susan Hrostowski, Kathy Garner and another couple had filed suit to grant Hrostowski parental rights to Garner’s biological child, Hudson. Janet Smith and Donna Phillips were the third couple who sued Smith for permission to adopt Phillips’ daughter, Hannah Marie. Kaplan stated that it was not an issue of precedence. “It’s crucial on a practical basis that we have two customers who now have no barriers to adopting their own children.” A handful of states had also placed gay adoption bans in place at the time the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in June 2015. Josh Kaye, an attorney representing plaintiffs, stated that all these bans were based upon the belief that unmarried couples were prohibited from adopting. Kaye stated that adoption was also legal once marriage was legalized in these states. Mississippi’s law was unusual because it contained a second clause prohibiting same-sex couples adopting. Rowell stated that Rowell and her wife, who were planning to adopt through the state Department of Human Services (State Department of Human Services), couldn’t even start their foster care paperwork. Rowell stated that the law was so clear, it had nine words: “Adoption by couples with the same gender is forbidden.” Rowell added that this was not something Rowell tried to find and do since she’s not in the business breaking laws. Four weeks after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the religious liberty bill, also known as HB 1523 into law. This was seen by some members of the gay community as an indication that legislation was moving in their favor. “This is how we are moving as a nation towards equality for all. Rob Hill, the director of Mississippi’s Human Rights Campaign, said that this is yet another example of walls falling down that have existed in the past. “This is why the governor should repeal something like HB1523. It is a waste of time trying to be on the wrong side of historical events and stand in the path of justice and equality.” Rowell and Harbuck now have the legal right to adopt. They are now focusing on becoming the ideal candidates for the Department of Human Services. Rowell, who is 25, and Harbuck, 28, are both looking to buy a larger house that has a larger yard and can make improvements for their child. “We have the opportunity to move forward on a normal schedule like everyone else. Rowell stated that he was able to get the nuclear family with two parents, the house and yard, as well as the golden retriever, together.