Puerto Rico Supreme Court Upholds Gay Adoption Ban

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Tribunal in Puerto Rico upheld the U.S. territory's ban on adoption by gay and lesbian people.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

February 20 2013 6:52 PM ET

The Supreme Court in Puerto Rico today affirmed a ban on adoption by same-sex parents in a 5-4 decision, reports Blabbeando.

The decision, handed down by the island's Supreme Tribunal today, concluded that Puerto Rico'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,'" according to Blabbeando.

The court was considering the case of a Puerto Rican lesbian who sought to legally adopt her partner's daughter. The couple challenged a current Puerto Rico law that "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 Blabbeando's translation from Spanish publication El Vocero.

Blabbeando notes that the court's president, Federico Hern├índez Denton, disagreed with the majority decision, and called the ruling unconstitutional in his minority dissent. The three other judges who joined in the dissent said they did not believe the constitution prohibited adoptions by same-sex couples, and that they would have liked the state to recognize second-parent adoption. 

"With this nefarious decision the Supreme Tribunal of Puerto Rico fails once again to live up to its constitutional obligation to grant justice to those who go to the courts as a last recourse in search of equality," said Puerto Rican LGBT activist Pedro Julio Serrano in a statement in Spanish. "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."

On Monday, more than 200,000 Christian Puerto Ricans marched on the commonwealth's capitol in San Juan to protest LGBT rights, including marriage equality and domestic violence protections for LGBT people, reports Russian news site RT.com.

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