Puerto Rico officially voted 5-4 against new legislation on Wednesday which would have allowed gay couples to adopt.
The law was brought before the Puerto Rican Supreme Court after an unidentified woman attempted to adopt a 12-year-old girl who was conceived by her partner via in vitro fertilization. The couple, who have been together for 20 years, have been trying to legalize the adoption for the past 8.
“This opinion saddens us because we know that today they have emotionally destroyed a Puerto Rican family and left it without legal protections,” says CABE Spokesman Osvaldo Burgos. CABE is an umbrella group that represents more than a dozen local human rights organization.
Puerto Rico is a country deeply rooted in religions values and traditions. Earlier this week, over 200,000 devout Christians participated in an anti-marriage equality protest called “Puerto Rico Stands Up.” According to a statistic done by NationMaster, 97 percent of Puerto Ricans identify as Christians.
According to the Puerto Rican Supreme Court’s majority opinion, “The state … has not criminalized their sentimental relationship, but it does not have a constitutional obligation to award this relationship the same rights that other relationships have when it comes to adoption procedures.”
The judges argued that a child’s dignity, stability and well-being is best suited with a family structure consisting of a father and a mother.
Chief Justice Federico Hernandez Denton, who voted for the bill to legalize same-sex adoption rights, does not approve of the court’s ruling, saying it is unconstitutional and more harmful. He said that Puerto Rico’s 60-year-old constitution was obsolete “as if it were an ancient manuscript encapsulated in a crystal urn.”
“Both [women]have ideal emotional skills, intuition and protective instinct to guarantee the girl’s full and healthy development,” said the chief justice. “In addition, tests showed that [the girl]is mentally stable, does exceptionally well in school and gets along very well with children her age.”
Singer Ricky Martin, who was born in Puerto Rico and came out in 2010, spoke against the ruling. On his twitter, he wrote: “How sad. I see this as turning your back on childhood. So many orphans wanting the warmth of 1home.”
Additionally, American states like Nebraska, Ohio, Wisconsin and Connecticut have denied similar cases.
“We have a court that is pretty much divided on the issue,” said American Civil Liberties Union Director William Ramirez in reference to the United States Supreme Court. “With a new set of facts in a future case, there’s room to believe this could change.”