Latin America & Caribbean

Colombia lifts same-sex adoption limits

Activists protests outside the Supreme Court of Justice in Bogota demanding the legalisation of the adoption of children by same-sex couples on 18 February, 2015. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Same-sex adoption has been hotly debated in Colombia

Colombia's constitutional court has lifted restrictions on same-sex couples adopting children.

Until now, same-sex couples could only adopt a child if it was the offspring of one of the partners.

But in a historic ruling on Wednesday, the court instructed adoption agencies not to discriminate against gay men and lesbians.

It said gay couples could adopt just as heterosexual couples could, as along as all legal requirements were met.

The court reached its ruling in a 6-2 vote after hours of debate.

It said that excluding gay couples as possible adoptive parents "limits children's right to a family".

"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.

Same-sex couples in Colombia are allowed to enter into legal unions but in 2013 Congress rejected a proposal to fully legalise gay marriage.

Activists welcomed Wednesday's decision but opponents promised to appeal, Reuters news agency reported.

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