Colombian bishops fight same-sex adoption

BOGOTA, Colombia -- The Colombian bishops' conference is campaigning against the possibility of legalized adoption by same-sex couples.

"We Catholics oppose allowing minors to be given in adoption to couples composed of people of the same sex and reject a possible decision of the Constitutional Court in that sense," Bogota Archbishop Ruben Salazar Gomez, conference president, said in a statement read at Masses April 17, Palm Sunday.

The statement laid out four arguments against same-sex adoptions. It argued that Colombia's Constitution defines a family as a man, woman and children; that most Colombians oppose adoptions by same-sex couples; that scientific studies have questioned how having "parents" of the same sex affects children's development; and that adoption is not a right for couples, but intended to benefit the child.

Gay rights activists dispute those points and attended Palm Sunday Mass wearing shirts with statements such as "I am gay, I'm Catholic and I have children" and "Homophobia is not Christian."

The Catholic Church's statement also rejected accusations of homophobia and said the church respects the human rights of everybody, independent of sexual orientation and behavior.

About five years ago, the Colombian high court recognized civil unions between same-sex couples. Earlier this year, the Constitutional Court gave same-sex couples the right to inherit from each other, giving Colombia one of the more progressive laws in this area in Latin America.

Last year, Argentina legalized same-sex marriage. Same-sex civil unions -- which do not allow for as many rights as same-sex marriages -- have been legalized in Uruguay and some states in Mexico and Brazil.

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