Top Colombia court rules same-sex couples can adopt children

Colombia’s highest court on Wednesday ruled same-sex couples in the South American country can adopt children.

The Colombian Constitutional Court in a 6-2 ruling cited international treaties and standards that support adoption rights for gays and lesbians.

“The court signaled that scientific studies and evidence that supports the process clearly demonstrated, or that adoption by same-sex partners does not adversely affect the comprehensive development of children,” reads the court’s decision.

Colombian LGBT rights advocates were quick to celebrate the landmark decision.

“We are celebrating adoption equality in Colombia,” said Colombia Diversa, a Colombian LGBT advocacy group, on its Twitter page.

“Adoption equality ensures children’s fundamental right to have a family and improve their living conditions,” said Colombia Diversa in another tweet.

Congresswoman Angélica Lozano, a former member of the Bogotá City Council who is the first openly LGBT person elected to the Colombian Congress, also applauded the ruling.

“Unjust discrimination that preferred children remain orphans than in a same-sex family falls,” she wrote on her Twitter page.

The Colombian Constitutional Court in February ruled gays and lesbians can adopt a child who was born to their “permanent partner.”

The judges in a 6-3 decision they issued in August 2014 said gays and lesbians can legally adopt the biological children of their same-sex partner.

The ruling stipulated the couple must live together for at least two years. The decision also said the person who seeks to adopt their partner’s child must receive permission from Colombian authorities to do so.

The Colombian Roman Catholic Church is among the groups that sharply criticized Wednesday’s ruling.

Marriage remains before the court

Wednesday’s landmark ruling comes less than four months after the Colombian Constitutional Court held a hearing on the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in the country.

Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson, Macarena Saez of American University Washington College of Law in D.C. and Colombia Diversa Executive Director Marcela Sánchez were among those who testified in support of nuptials for gays and lesbians. A representative from the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT group from the U.S., also took part in the July 30 hearing.

The Colombian Constitutional Court in 2011 ruled same-sex couples could register their relationships in two years if lawmakers did not pass a bill that would extend to them the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage.

Colombian lawmakers subsequently defeated a same-sex marriage bill. A handful of gays and lesbians have exchanged vows in the South American country since the court’s deadline passed in June 2013.

Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez Maldonado challenged the rulings that allowed the aforementioned same-sex couples to marry.