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Puerto Rico Supreme Court upholds same-sex adoption ban

Puerto Rico's Supreme Court [official website, in Spanish] on Wednesday upheld [judgment, PDF, in Spanish] a law banning same-sex couples from adopting children. The case was brought by a woman who wanted to adopt the child of her partner of 20 years. In a 5-4 judgment, the court upheld the constitutionality of a law making it legally impossible for a person to adopt a child if the potential adopter is of the same sex as the child's legal parent. In its ruling, the majority stated that households with a mother and a father were most beneficial to the child. In his dissent Chief Justice Federico Hernandez Denton [official profile, in Spanish] said that the court's ruling discriminated [AP Report] against same-sex couples and was not in the best interest of the child in this case.

Recently, adoption rights of same-sex couples have created controversy in several courts worldwide. Earlier this week the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] ruled that a woman in a same-sex relationship could adopt her partner's biological child [JURIST report]. The court ruled the ban violated Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights [text, PDF]. Also this week the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany ruled that same-sex couples in a civil union can legally adopt [JURIST report] the non-biological children of their partners. Similarly, the Northern Ireland High Court [official website] held [JURIST report] in October that a law permitting adoption only by heterosexual married couples or single individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, is unlawful. Also in October, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals [official website] upheld a law limiting marriage as a union between and one man and one woman. That ruling effectively barred a woman from adopting her female partner's child.

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