Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Report: Puerto Rican Supreme Court reaffirms same-sex adoption ban

Puerto Rico's El Vocero is reporting that the island's Supreme Tribunal will be backing an adoption ban for same-sex couples in a 5-4 decision to be announced later today.

El Vocero says that the ruling comes after a Puerto Rican woman sought to adopt her lesbian partner's daughter.  A current law "bans the adoption of a minor if the biological mother doesn't give up her rights unless the couple consists of a man and a woman", according to the paper.

The women had argued that Article 138 of the Civil Code was unconstitutional because it banned adoptions by same-sex couples.

Puerto Rico's best known openly gay man has responded on Twitter.

"So sad," writes Ricky Martin, "I see this as turning our backs on childhood. So many orphans who want the warmth of 1 home."
Puerto Rican activist Pedro Julio Serrano also released a statement:
With this nefarious decision the Supreme Tribunal of Puerto Rico fails once again to live up to it's constitutional obligation to grant justice to those who go to the courts as a last recourse in search of equality.  This decision goes against the constitution. The Constitution is clear: All citizens should be protected equally and their dignity should not be violated.  This decision violates, threatens and challenges two of the highest protections in our Carta Magna. Once again the Supreme Tribunal has failed the people of Puerto Rico.
Serrano calls on the Puerto Rican legislature to right the wrong that the Court has committed.

UPDATE #1: El Nuevo Dia is reporting that they also got advance notice of the ruling. They say that the court determined that such a ban was valid because the island's constitution "does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation" and accepted arguments presented by the legislature that the "traditional family" composed of a father, a mother and their children "best protected the well-being of minors."

The paper says that the Court's president Federico Hernández Denton disagreed with the majority ruling and in a minority opinion said that the decision was unconstitutional.

Three other dissenting judges said that they did not believe the Civil Code prohibited these type of adoptions and that they would have preferred if the state recognized "second parent adoptions".

UPDATE #2: You can download a copy of the ruling here (Spanish-only)


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