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Mississippi

Former Miss. governor says he was wrong to ban adoption by gay couples

Friday, March 22, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. — Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove says he now regrets signing a state law in 2000 that bans same-sex couples from adopting children.

Musgrove, an attorney, served one term as governor, from January 2000 to January 2004.

Ronnie Musgrove

The Democrat first reported his change of heart in an essay this week on the Huffington Post. He also said same-sex couples should have the right to marry.

Musgrove, who is Southern Baptist and has been a deacon, told The Associated Press on Friday that his evolution occurred over years.

“After thinking about this for some time, I realized that if you’re fortunate, age and knowledge breed compassion,” Musrgrove said in a phone interview. “The more I read the (U.S.) Constitution, the clearer it became that you just can’t deny rights to a specific class of people just because some are uncomfortable with what they do not understand.”

Musgrove commended U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican who recently announced he had changed positions and started supporting same-sex marriage after learning his son is gay.

“Too many elected officials take positions without thinking about the real impact on people and families,” Musgrove said. “I am glad Sen. Portman had the same evolution I did, but I wish all of us had the compassion for other people to think about the impact of political positions before making them policy.”

The 2000 law that Musgrove signed to ban same-sex couples from adopting children divided Mississippi’s religious groups. The state’s Episcopal leader opposed it, but Baptists and Methodists supported it. The American Family Association, a conservative Christian group based in Tupelo, also lobbied for the ban.

Mississippi enacted a law banning gay marriage in 1997, when Musgrove was lieutenant governor and was presiding over the state Senate. In November 2004, a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was adopted with the s upport of 86 percent of state voters.

“Just like Sen. Portman, we all know or are related to someone who is LGBT,” Musgrove said Friday. “They are our friends, coworkers, neighbors, siblings, cousins, aunts or uncles, children or parents. To deny them basic human or civil rights out of political expediency is just wrong.”

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38 more reader comments:

  1. Too little too late

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:38pm
  2. Good or bad??

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:39pm
  3. ^Better late than never

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:39pm
  4. Wait like Is this bad or good??

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:39pm
  5. Got that right! Thank you! <3 =

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:40pm
  6. of course now they are all coming out of the woodwork seeing as how this is giving them some publicity.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:40pm
  7. Thank you,
    It takes a big man to admit he was wrong….:)

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:40pm
  8. Then he should be involved in changing it

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:43pm
  9. Amazing how your conscience gets to you once you’re out of office and don’t have to worry about those pesky almighty campaign contributions.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:43pm
  10. Dropping like flies

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:44pm
  11. isn’t it a bit late? And what is he doing to reverse that decision. Actions speak louder than words!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:48pm
  12. LOL! These people are very weird. These politicians are twisted.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:52pm
  13. It’s never to late to admit you were wrong and see the error of your ways…At least he is man enough to admit now he was wrong and is attempting to right said wrongs…Give him and others that are coming to the light the benefit of the doubt…

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:53pm
  14. another dickwad now supporting gay people,

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:54pm
  15. It is too late for him – he is out of office!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:54pm
  16. I wonder if Senator Portman will reverse his position if his son “changes his mind” about how he was born. I commend Portman also, but I would like to see some ethics to begin with. Empathy would be nice also.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:55pm
  17. he was depriving kids from being adopted into good loving homes!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:55pm
  18. don’t you have an eraser. lol

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 2:56pm
  19. Well, get it changed!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:00pm
  20. So DO something about it then, Ronnie Musgrove!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:01pm
  21. The whole equal rights fight is to help change people’s minds and hearts. It’s not fair to complain when people do change their minds. This is what we want. Changing one mind and one heart at a time. Why join this fight for equality if you’re just gonna say “too little too late?” Would you prefer that people remain bigoted?

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:05pm
  22. the link is broken…

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:09pm
  23. I’m glad he is coming around now think about all the adults and children were hurt and work that hard to insure that at least as many are helped.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:10pm
  24. What we should be outraged about is – why is he just now reading and understanding the U.S. Constitution??

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:17pm
  25. “He said reading the U.S. Constitution made it clear that the government cannot deny rights to groups of people.” So as a Governor… he had never before read the U.S. Constitution? I give props to these men coming out to support but what they are saying makes me realize none of them had been working for the American people… just for themselves. It’s angering.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:19pm
  26. Business as usual, now that his careers over he’s willing to clean up his reputation for posterity. Like Bill Clinton. When will these guys realize that “I’m sorry” is meaningless when you don’t have the power to change it?

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:27pm
  27. It’s good for him to admit it, now that it’s too late for him to do anything about it. We all make mistakes, but this man denied loving homes to many children and denied people the chance to be a parent. That’s a huge mistake that damaged countless lives. I don’t know he lives with himself.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:28pm
  28. Irrelevant. He’s the FORMER governor. Former Republicans say all sorts of incredibly insane shit and are allowed to get away with it.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:31pm
  29. yes he was

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 3:51pm
  30. a lot of good it does now…how many kids went without homes because of his bigoted ban?

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 4:25pm
  31. It took this long for you to open your eyes and heart?

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 4:52pm
  32. they will ALL change their minds after their job is no longer at risk for advocating.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 5:04pm
  33. The second Republican to come forward lately when they are no longer pandering to their constituents….admitting that they were wrong.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 5:51pm
  34. The psycho party known as Republicans only know how to get their base fired up, but they don’t know how to lead. All they do is pander to the media darlings, but when their star has lost its shine, they finally say what they truly believe because they aren’t running for re-election.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:02pm
  35. Absolutely Mark.

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 6:03pm
  36. at least he can admit when he is wrong! Lets just hope he is sincere!

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 7:00pm
  37. wow, even the south is waking up !

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 8:30pm
  38. Oh that Mississippi @! Last in Education, Last in well everything.. but 1st in Government Handouts.. & 1st to bash Pres. Obama .. finally see’s the writing on the wall 2 bad it’s after the 1st openly Gay black candidate for Governor was killed just a couple of months ago.. they must be losing some government grant.. :-(

    Posted on Friday, March 22, 2013 at 9:22pm