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REGARDING THE RECOGNITION OF EQUAL ADOPTION IN COLOMBIA

In recent years, same-sex couples have made dizzying progress in the struggle to be recognized in our legal system as authentic family nuclei, under the same conditions as heterosexual couples.
For a time, the Constitutional Court tried – based on Article 13 of the Constitution, which enshrines the right to equality – to clarify the normative value of this type of unions; however, in many matters it limited itself to exhorting the Congress of the Republic to legislate on the matter. The latter, however, has traditionally been reluctant to legislate or recognize any type of right for same-sex couples, leaving the responsibility of advancing in this matter to the Constitutional Court.
The most recent case of this situation occurred last Wednesday, November 4, when the Full Chamber of the Constitutional Court recognized that homosexual couples had the possibility of jointly adopting minors, thus determining that they are as suitable as heterosexual couples to raise a child. In this regard, the House Representative for the Green Alliance Party and activist for the rights of the LGBTI community Angelica Lozano, wrote on her Twitter account: “The 6-2 in the Constitutional Court proves that scientific and practical reality overcomes prejudice and homophobia”.
With this historic ruling, Colombia becomes one of only four countries in Latin America, and twenty in the world, to recognize equal adoption. In 2000, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to endorse adoption by same-sex couples. It was followed by Sweden in 2003, Spain and the United Kingdom in 2005, Belgium in 2006, South Africa and Iceland in 2006, Norway in 2009, Denmark in 2010, New Zealand and France in 2013, Luxembourg in 2015, among others.
On the other hand, in countries such as Canada and Portugal the situation has been different. In the first case, only in 2010 was the adoption process allowed at the federal level, as it was previously only allowed in some provinces. In the case of Portugal, only single people are allowed to adopt, so married couples do not have this right. In Latin America, joint adoption by same-sex couples is permitted in Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.
The Constitutional Court had already ruled on this issue in 2014, when it ruled on a tutela action filed by Verónica Botero, through which she sought to adopt the biological daughter of her permanent partner Ana Elisa Leiderman. In this ruling, the Court approved the adoption of minors by the same-sex partner of one of their biological parents, noting that the decision was based on the search for the protection of the rights of minors and taking into account that the Constitution protected the diversity of family structures.
Last week’s historic 145-page ruling was presented by Judge Jorge Iván Palacio, who concluded that according to the experts’ conception, it is evident that according to medicine and science, there is no fact that justifies that a minor can suffer any type of trauma if he/she is raised by homosexual couples.
This decision sparked celebration on the part of the LGTBI community and protest among those who oppose it, announcing that they will file appeals against the ruling. Colombian ecclesiastic Juan Vicente Cordoba, for example, received the decision with disapproval and pointed out that in this way the rights of children are being trampled upon and that the family structure, which should be made up of a man and a woman, was being undermined. On the other hand, one of the most well-known homosexual couples in Colombia, Congresswomen Claudia López and Angélica Lozano, expressed their satisfaction with the ruling.
Despite this enormous triumph on the road to reducing the stigmas, discrimination, fears and fears that exist about the LGBTI community in Colombia, the outlook in the Congress of the Republic for the recognition of equal marriage still looks murky. However, a decision of the Constitutional Court is pending. It is expected that the Court will once again assert the rights of minorities, given that the Congress of the Republic and the majority of public opinion continue to be reluctant to accept the difference and provide legal protection to this type of families.
By: Santiago Torres García

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