A campaign to have same-sex couples’ adoption rights put to a popular vote in Colombia has managed to gather more than the 1.8 million signatures needed to move forward with a referendum on the issue.
More than two million Colombians have signed the petition which was put forward by Liberal Party Senator Viviane Morales.
Another 45 senators from Colombia’s Democratic Center and Conservative parties have also backed the initiative.
Morales began her campaign in response to Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruling that same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children they aren’t related to in November of 2015.
The court had ruled the year before that people in same-sex relationships can apply to become the legal parent of their partner’s children.
Morales claims the court violated a ‘constitutional right of the formation of the family and the rights of children to grow up with a father and a mother’ with its 2015 ruling.
The judges had ruled 6-to-2 that excluding same-sex couples from being able to adopt a child they weren’t related to was wrong because it ‘limits children’s right to a family.’
‘A person’s sexual orientation or gender are not in and of themselves indicative of a lack of moral, physical or mental suitability to adopt,’ Constitutional Court Chief Justice Maria Victoria Calle Correa told a news conference after the decision.
The same court is expected to hand down a ruling on same-sex marriage later this year.
However the campaign to have Colombians vote on whether to allow same-sex marriage still has a number of hurdles to cross.
If Colombia’s Registrar accepts the signatures on the petition as genuine it will then go to the Congress where it must be debated and passed by a majority in both it’s chambers, twice.
The request for a referendum must then be approved by the Constitutional Court – the very court who’s authority it seeks to challenge.
Lesbian activist and lawyer Elizabeth Castillo told Colombia Reports that she believed that the referendum would not be held as it was a ‘populist initiative [with] no legal basis or constitutional support and will fall on constitutional revisions.’
‘With the initiative they want to limit the rights of the homosexual population. We can already adopt, can form a family. If it were to be processed in Congress, the Constitutional Court will not accept the initiative because it is contrary to all principles of sexual diversity.’
The Constitutional Court ruled in 2011 that same-sex couples should be recognized as a family unit.