Colombian court redefines 'family' in support of gay unions

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Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba of Columbia lamented a recent court ruling that changed the country's definition of family and warned that it will pave the way for the legalization of adoption by same-sex couples.

In a ruling issued on April 19, Colombia’s Constitutional Court said the definition of the family should be broadened beyond marriage as between one man and one woman in its decision to grant a lesbian woman permission to give her pension to her partner.

“A reading of the Constitution that equates the concept of the family to that of the union between man and woman is plainly wrong, since family bonds are achieved in fact through diverse situations including the free will to form a family, regardless of the gender or orientation of its members,” the court said.

In reaction to the news, Bishop Cordoba – who serves as president of the Colombian bishops' conference – underscored that “family in Colombia is between a man and a woman.”

The bishop said that in their ruling, the court effectively defied article 42 of the country's constitution, which defined marriage as between one man and one woman and called the family “the fundamental nucleus of society.”

He also said the move will lay the groundwork for the legalization of adoption by same-sex couples. The court’s ruling comes after the case of an American gay journalist who hid his orientation in order to adopt two disabled Colombian children living in poverty. 

Bishop Cordoba stressed that Colombia is a majority Catholic country that would reject the redefining of the family in any referendum. He also noted that the Church reaches out to homosexuals and supports their dignity as persons and as Colombian citizens.

“If they want to live together, let them live together. Let them pass on their health and their inheritance. But it’s another thing for a minority group to make laws for all Colombians,” he said.

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