On Nov. 16, El Espectador published a story reporting on a leaked draft of the court’s ruling, written by Luis Guillermo Guerrero, a conservative judge who took over from liberal Juan Carlos Henao in 2012. To their relief, it suggested the court was preparing to rule in their favor. The fact that a judge with Guerrero’s conservative reputation is planning to endorse a ruling in favor of LGBT family rights came as an encouraging surprise to LGBT rights advocates. But they won’t see it as a total win if the ruling is issued as El Espectador reports. The adoption ruling could be a Trojan horse — a decision that looks progressive on its face, but actually contains legal arguments that could set back LGBT rights in the fierce legal battle now unfolding over marriage equality in the country.
The adoption ruling as reported by El Espectador would establish a right for gays and lesbians to second-parent adoption. But it would also contain language saying that the Colombian constitution still reserves special protections for heterosexual couples because of their ability to reproduce. And that, activists fear, could be the basis for denying marriage equality when the court is forced to clearly rule on whether same-sex couples have full marriage rights, in separate cases currently making their way through the courts.
Two steps forward, one step back. I guess as a people, we should be used to this. But it still sucks.