Friday, July 06, 2012

Ecuadorian court says Civil Registry must accept civil union registrations from same-sex couples

When Ecuador adopted a new constitution in September of 2008, it included recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples which were purported to extend all the rights afforded to heterosexual marriage couples. Except it didn't quite do that.

It didn't include, for example, the right for same-sex couples to adopt children or allow a same-sex couple to register as co-parents of children raised by one of the partners.

A Bristish lesbian couple living in Ecuador certainly found out the hard way and have been fighting an increasingly visible and lengthy battle to register their Ecuador-born daughter as their own ("One baby, two moms equals controversy in Ecuador", AFP, May 31, 2012).

Apparently what the 2008 constitution allowed same-sex couples to do was to go to a notary and register their partnership for the purpose of securing a number of patrimonial and inheritance rights.  Now comes word that it didn't event allow same-sex couples to register their partnership with the nation's Civil Registry which determines, among other things, the number of married and divorced heterosexual couples in the country or those engaged in a civil union. It also provides couples ID's that specifically say they are registered as such with the government agency.

Now, as La Hora reported on Wednesday, a Pichincha district court has ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking to register their civil union with the Civil Registry since 2010 and ruled the Registry must recognize same-sex couples ("Court: Same-sex unions will be recognized").

For now the ruling only applies to María Belén Gómez Salgado and Daniela Alcántara - the lesbian couple who went to court to demand equal access to civil union rights.

La Hora says that an LGBT-rights non profit organization called the Equality Foundation is urging other couples who have entered into civil unions to do as Ms. Gómez and Ms. Alcántara did and go to the courts instead of waiting for the law to adopt the court's ruling.

Image: A lesbian couple participate in a May 17th "kiss-in" honoring the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.


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