Puerto Rico's supreme court ruled February 22 in favor of a law prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children. The 5-4 vote came in the case of a lesbian woman who has been trying for several years to adopt the daughter her partner had 12 years ago via in-vitro fertilization. The decision comes as the U.S. territory is locked in an intense political battle over the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In its decision, the court upheld the constitutionality of the law that bans a person from adopting a single-parent child if the person desiring to adopt is the same sex as the existing biological parent, without that parent losing their legal rights to the child.
In its majority opinion the court said that the state had not criminalized the “sentimental relationship” of the lesbian couple, “but it does not have a constitutional obligation to award this relationship the same rights that other relationships have when it comes to adoption procedures.”
The Associated Press reported that the court majority also found “so-called second-parent adoptions, in which couples jointly adopt children, do not apply in Puerto Rico. That issue affects the case in question in part, the majority said, because the girl would have to be registered with two mothers and the U.S. territory's laws do not address such a situation. The judges said it is up to legislators to change adoption laws if they see fit.”
Noting that courts in Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Connecticut have struck down similar same-sex adoption cases, the court advised: “Starting today, the applicant should channel her efforts through the Legislative Assembly.”
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Photo: Puerto Rican flag