Last week a great landmark was reached in the country for LGBT couples an society in general. In a historical ruling, the Colombian constitutional court stated that no person can be excluded from adopting a child regardless of their gender identity or sexuality. The decision allows for homosexual couples and can adopt children that have been left in the care of ICBF (Colombian social services) by their biological parents.
A 6 to 2 vote declared that the previous laws established in the code to rule over the process of adoption are in fact constitutional, but they were conditioned to state that the sexual orientation or gender of the applicants cannot be a criteria for determining if prospective parents are fit for adopting.
This has been one of the most important recognitions of LGBT rights in the country. A quest that started in 2011, when the constitutional court recognized the fact that the LGBT community can be family oriented and the issues regarding adoption and marriage needed to be looked into. At that point the court charged congress with the task of establishing a mechanism to allow homosexual couples to celebrate marriages in the same way heterosexual can, and gave a deadline for this mechanism to be developed within two years. If the deadline wasn’t met, couples could be able to go to public notaries and exercise their right to marry with the same legal standing as heterosexual couples.
The next step would be adoption. After a suit from a lesbian couple requesting for the right of a woman to adopt her parter’s biological child, the constitutional court gave their support and thus opened the door for full adoption rights to come forth. From this moment onward it was legally allowed for a partner to be the adoptive parent of a child so long as the biological parents agree and give consent.
In January of this year it was requested to look into the issue of the legality of homosexual parents adopting children from the care of ICBF. And due to a tie in the voting 4 to 4, the decision was left in the hands of a third party. Throughout the year the positions at the court were changing as the people holding these offices were replaced or taking back their seat from their temporary replacements.
Now the ruiling has been issued, and it is a great milestone in the matter of equal rights. Colombia has one of the most developed legal frameworks with LGBT rights in the region. The remaining path seeks to insure that the union celebrated between same sex couples can be legally called marriage and be celebrated in a church, a notary or a in front of a judge.
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