May 2, 2012 ( – Colombia’s Constitutional Court, the nation’s top judicial body, has decreed that the word ‘family’ is no longer to be applied exclusively to those united by blood kinship or marriage.

“The family bond is achieved through the reality of diverse situations, among them the free will to form a family, apart from the sex or orientation of its members,” wrote the judges their verdict, issued on April 20.

“Therefore, it is clear that heterosexuality or differences of sex within the couple, and even the existence of one, is not a definitive aspect of the family, much less a requirement for its constitutional recognition,” they added.

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The Court used the existence of single-parent families, which are most often created by out-of-wedlock sexual activity or divorce, to argue in favor of admitting homosexual unions into the definition of “family.”

“The extent of superior protection of family relationships are circumscribed by different options of biological or social formation of the same, within which monoparental or biparental models are incorporated, or simply that which is derived from simple relationships of childrearing,” the judges wrote. “Therefore, insofar as the existence of a couple isn’t consubstantial with the institution of the family, neither can the sexual orientation of its member be so.”

The Court is now in the process of considering the legalization of homosexual adoption, sparking protests from pro-family organizations in Colombia.

“The Court is taking steps like a cascade, in which one step brings another and [the judges] are doing what they want,” said the Catholic bishop of the city of Fontibón, who complained that “from one moment to the next the Court pulled out an ace from its sleeve and by magic it is saying that it changed the concept of family because it seemed to it to be a two or a three.”

The Constitutional Court has issued several verdicts in recent years overriding government protections for the right to life and family. It has depenalized abortion in cases of rape and incest, and has ordered the government to produce legislation recognizing homosexual unions.

The decree on the definition of a “family” accompanied a verdict by the Court granting retirement benefits to the partner of a lesbian.


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