Colombia court upholds restrictions on adoption for same-sex couples

Feb 19, 2015
International News

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Colombia [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday upheld a restriction that same-sex couples cannot adopt children that have no biological relation to either parent. While the official text of the decision [BBC report] has not yet been released, the court did release a statement on their official Twitter page [Twitter post in Spanish] saying that same-sex couples may only adopt the biological child of their permanent partner. While some hold this to be a victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Colombia, many LGBT activists expressed disappointment. According to a BBC report, LGBT supporter Senator Armando Benedetti referred to the judges as "cowards." Last year Verónica Botero and Ana Elisa Leiderman made headlines [El Tiempo report, in Spanish] when the Court decided that Botero could legally adopt the biological children of her partner, who conceived through artificial insemination. The ruling was a 6-3 decision, and the court at that time put in place the restrictions that were upheld this week.

There have been several significant changes to LGBT rights in Colombia in recent years. In 2013 a Colombian appeals judge ordered [JURIST report] a notary to marry a same-sex couple, following the couples' appeal after the notary refused to marry them earlier that year. In 2011 the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled [press release] unanimously that same-sex couples are "families" under the law and their relationships cannot be invalidated nor can same-sex marriage be made illegal, but gave the Colombian Congress two years to legislate same-sex marriage rather than declaring it outright constitutional. The bill, however, failed to pass in the Senate. In 2008 the court held that same-sex couples should be given the same pension and health benefits [JURIST report] as those held by opposite-sex couples. In its decision [press release, PDF], the court said that to exclude same-sex couples from receiving such benefits would undermine their fundamental right to human dignity and equal protection of the laws. The previous year the Colombian Senate voted against landmark legislation [JURIST report] that would have given same-sex couples who have cohabited for over a period of two years similar rights as persons in heterosexual common law marriages. Earlier, the court ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex couples must be accorded the same property rights as other unmarried couples.

 

Brittany Felder

Jurist