The Catholic Church in Colombia said it respects the decision because it defends the Constitutional rights of children.

The Constitutional Court of Colombia has ended the intense debate that arose in recent weeks due to the possibility of extending the right of adoption for gay couples.

On Wednesday night, after more than eight hours of discussion, the court announced via social media that adoption in the case of a homosexual couple may only be done “when the request is made regarding a biological child from a permanent partner”. This decision confirmed the restriction placed in an earlier judgment issued by the same court.

The voting results were five against granting the possibility and four in favor. The decisive opinion has been in the hands of judge José Roberto Herrera, and entered the shortlist in the SUpre Court in early February.

At the outset, the judge rapporteur, Jorge Iván Palacio, was in favor of recognizing that same-sex couples could “adopt children if such adoptions met the requirements prescribed by law” and rejected the position of Attorney General, Alejandro Ordóñez , the fiercest opponent, who defined the proposal as “social engineering experiments with children in vulnerable situations.”

In August last year, the Court had already ruled in favor of the consensual adoption at the request of a lesbian couple. In that case, Veronica Botero won the legal battle to be the mother of the illegitimate daughter of Ana Leiderman, with whom she has lived for 10 years. This outcome seemed to open the door for cases where any member of the couple was the father or the biological mother of the child.

This is the position that is now endorsed by the new ruling issued Wednesday. However, the Court had not issued a decision regarding what is known as ‘joint adoption’ or for all couples without restriction. This debate is still pending.

“The Court consolidated the right to adopt the child of a permanent partner for all cases. However, it has a debt with full equality in their decision on joint adoption. The Court took a step but left open another” said Mauricio Albarracín, director of the NGO Colombia Diversa, the country’s leading organization that defends the rights of the LGBT community.

The government, which has been silent until this week, previously argued in favor of the adoption shortly before Constitutional Court issued its last statement. The Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo, said in an interview that same-sex couples have the right not to be discriminated against and called the decision a necessary step.

“There is enough scientific advice showing that there is no difference in the upbringing of a child between heterosexuals and same-sex couples,” he added but not before warning that the government will follow the decision of the Court.

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