By Melanie Nathan, November 06, 2015.
In a victory for the country’s LGBT community, the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled on November 4, 2015, that same-sex couples in Colombia can adopt children. Previously couples could only adopt a child if it was the offspring of one of the partners, but after hours of debate a 6-2 vote was made in favor of adoption. Despite the adoption ruling, same-sex couples cannot marry, though civil unions were legalized in 2013.
Williams Institute scholars Abbie Goldberg, Nanette Gartrell, and Gary Gates filed a brief with the Court that reviewed social science research on psychological, emotional and educational outcomes of children of same-sex parents.
The brief explained that lesbian, gay and heterosexual parents show little differences in regard to mental health, parenting stress, and parenting competence, and that there are few differences between children raised by same-sex parents and heterosexual parents in terms of self-esteem, quality of life, psychological adjustment, or social functioning. The research also showed that the quality of the relationship between a child and his or her LGB parents does not differ from that between a child and heterosexual parents.
The Court indicated that scientific evidence and studies presented to the Court in proceedings predominantly showed that adoption by same-sex couples does not negatively impact the development of children, and that no evidence of negative impacts could be found in children living with same-sex couples was proved.
The Court determined that given that there is no conclusive evidence as to whether children are negatively impacted by being adopted or by living with a same-sex couple, to deny same-sex couples of their right to adopt would entail restriction on the children’s right to have a family, and not to be separated from it, which would disproportionately go against their best interest.
“A person’s sexual orientation or gender are not in and of themselves indicative of a lack of moral, physical or mental suitability to adopt,” said the chief justice of the Constitutional Court, Maria Victoria Calle Correa, the BBC reports.
“If the constitutional court hadn’t ruled in favor of same-sex adoption it would have seriously affected couples rights’ to have a family and bring up a child in a loving and protective setting, which a family nucleus offers,” Marcela Sánchez director of LGBT rights organization Colombia Diversa told RCN radio.
In 2014 alone, 1.148 children were placed up for adoption in Colombia, 23 more than during 2013, a drop from the 3,058 children registered in 2010. October figures this year recorded 368 adoption requests for children aged between 0 to 6-years-old from Colombian families, El Tiempo reports.