Following weeks of heated public debate on homosexuality, Colombia’s constitutional court ruled on Wednesday that gay couples may not adopt children.
The court was asked to rule on gay adoption after a lesbian couple unsuccessfully had tried to become the legal parents of a child that had been conceived by one of the women through IVF.
The court announced its initial decision on Twitter.
In the tweet, the court said it had ruled in favor of the couple’s request for joint parenthood, but clarified that “gay couples can only adopt when the request is about the biological child of the partner.”
The decision was met with double feelings by Colombia Diversa, the country’s most prominent gay rights organization.
“The country proved to be ripe and ready for equality. The court consolidated the right to adopt the biological son or daughter of the partner in all cases. However, it is indebted to equality due to its decision on joint adoption. The court took one step forward but failed to take the other,” Colombia Diversa director Mauricio Albarracin said.
The gay rights group stressed that gay couples in effect are able to adopt children as long as this request is filed by one of the partners.
For gay couples to obtain the right of adopt, Colombia’s gay minority would have to resort to Congress, which over the past few years has failed to create new laws for the predominantly Christian country.
Colombia’s Catholic Church, supported by the church-loyal Conservative Party, has long resisted granting equal rights to gay couples, which has generated controversy among scholars and in the media.
Gay couples gained the right to marry in 2013, but only after Congress for years on end failed to approve of legislation that would regulate gay rights in the country.
The inability to vote on the subject allowed a 2011 Constitutional Court ruling that granted gay couples the right to get married if Congress was unable to vote.