One step forward two steps back for Colombia's gay couples

Tue Apr 7, 2015 8:04pm EDT
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By Anastasia Moloney

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - When Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that Veronica Botero could adopt her lesbian partner's two children, the couple were ecstatic because their six-year legal battle seemed to be over.

The ruling, handed down in 2014, was the first of its kind in the socially conservative Andean nation.

But more than seven months later, university professor Botero, and her spouse, Ana Leiderman, are still waiting for their adoption papers, blocked by a local judge who has autonomy.

The couple have become a symbol of the struggle gays and lesbians face in winning equal rights to heterosexuals over adoption and marriage in the predominantly Catholic country, where traditional views of the family unit hold sway.

Opponents of advancing gay rights, including Colombia's powerful inspector general, the Catholic Church and conservative lawmakers, view homosexual acts as a sin and say only a man and woman can form a family and have the right to adopt.

After marrying in Germany, Botero and Leiderman decided to start a family, agreeing that Leiderman would be the one to undergo artificial insemination.

"It's about two adults wanting to protect their children and give them the legal protection that comes with being recognized as a family under law. That's why we decided to file the lawsuit," Leiderman, 46, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"The court said a gay couple is a family and that being gay isn't an impediment for adoption. But the court's decision has yet to be approved by a local judge, who has autonomy. It's still not certain we will receive the adoption papers."   Continued...