Colombia Hub

Colombian Government Pledges Its Support for Marriage Equality

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 According to Juan Fernando Cristo the Interior Minister of Colombia (pictured above), the Colombian government is all in to support LGBT-rights activists’ fight for marriage equality.

"The government supports the fight for equality and we will adopt measures providing equal marriage rights for all," Cristo said at the Andes University in Bogota on Thursday.

Country-wide polling shows that the majority of Colombians are still staunchly opposed to gay marriage, despite the country’s large queer population. The government, Cristo insisted, is committed to backing campaigns working towards furthering marriage equality.

The road to marriage equality in Colombia has been an interesting one in recent years. In 2011 the Colombian Constitutional Court issued a ruling requiring the country’s Congress to legalize full same sex marriage or an equivalent by 2013. After the Congressional body failed to comply by the deadline, courts were empowered to begin marrying same sex couples at their own discretion. Only 30 couples managed to secure marriage licenses through the loophole.

The Andean Condor is in Trouble. The Reasons are Known, and Preventable

(wer-al zwowe)


LIMA, Peru — Another day, another endangered species, or so it seems.

The Andean condor could be next. The iconic giant scavenger is a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, but it is disappearing in parts of the region. 

According to the Red List of Threatened Species, the conservationists’ bible, there are an estimated 10,000 of the birds left in the wild.

Yet things are not as simple as that.

“The problem is no one really knows,” says Robert Wallace, who heads the Wildlife Conservation Society’s operations in Bolivia.

“It is very hard with animals that cover such large distances and inhabit such inaccessible terrain. The condors you see in one place today and 300 miles away tomorrow could easily be the same animals.”

What is known is that populations in Argentina and Chile, mainly Patagonia, are relatively healthy, while there are thought to be just a handful left in Ecuador and Colombia. Venezuela probably now has no resident condors left.

In Peru, one forthcoming study puts the minimum number at just 250. Meanwhile, Jessica Galvez-Durand, head of sustainable wildlife management for the Peruvian government, says that there are “fewer than 2,500.”


Continue reading "The Andean Condor is in Trouble. The Reasons are Known, and Preventable" »

Colombian Teen Commits Suicide After Alleged Anti-gay Harassment From Catholic School Administrators

A 16-year-old Colombian boy has committed suicide in August after reportedly anti-gay harassment from his Catholic school administrators, GLAAD reports this week:

SergioSergio Urrego, 16, killed himself after school's administrators first made public his relationship with another young man then accused him of sexual harassment. According to the story, the relationship was uncovered by a teacher who saw a photo on Sergio's phone of he and his boyfriend kissing. The school, Gimnasio Castillo Campestre, a Catholic institution, treated the situation in a deplorable manner, according to Sergio's mother, who said she will not rest until her son's name is cleared. She is filing a complaint, supported by the LGBT group Colombia Diversa

Urrego was called to the school principal, who reportedly belittled Urrego - calling him as an "anarchist" an "atheist" and "a homosexual."

The Advocate adds:

It is unclear what actions, if any will, be taken against the school and those involved in the alleged abuse. El Espectador notes that Urrego and his parents had requested meetings with school and district officials to discuss the antigay harassment Urrego was enduring at the hands of those who were paid to educate and protect him, but school officials claimed Urrego's problems were based at home, with parents who did not accept his sexual orientation.

A vigil is planned tomorrow in front of the school and at the location where Urrego ended his life.

[photo via Facebook]

Legal Victories For Gay Parents Across The Globe: Roundup


Last week, gay parents in three different nations celebrated several significant wins within the court systems of their respective countries. The courts granted fundamental custodial rights to gay families in Colombia, Italy and Switzerland.

On Thursday, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that Veronica Botero could legally adopt the biological child of her lesbian partner, Ana Leiderman. Five years ago, Leiderman underwent artificial insemination to have the child, whom her partner helped raise since birth. The AFP news agency reports:

With six votes for and three abstentions, the court ruled that Leiderman, who underwent artificial insemination to conceive her daughter and raised her together with Botero, had the right to request an adoption by her partner regardless of sex.

"The court considered that the discriminatory criterion the administrative authority had used to deny the adoption procedure... was unacceptable in this case, which involves a consensual adoption in which the biological father or mother consents to an adoption by his or her permanent partner," said chief justice Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva.

This ruling, however, does not allow adoption by gay couples in cases wherein neither is the biological parent of the child.

Meanwhile in Italy, a court in that country also ruled that a woman could adopt the biological child of her partner. The online news site The Local reports:

In this case, the non-biological parent was allowed to adopt the child due to a clause in Article 44 of Italy’s adoption law of 1983, which prioritises “the best interest of the child in order to maintain the emotional relationship and cohabi-tation with the ‘social’ parent,” Pili added, such as the person who has raised the child other than the biological parent.

“This particular article of adoption law does not discriminate between heterosexual and homosexual parents,” she said

The court ruling was described as an “historic step for our country” by the gay rights group, Mario Mieli Society for Gay Culture.

In Switzerland, a court in the northern part of that country has ruled that a gay couple are legally the parents of a child born to the men via surrogate in California. 

The American birth certificate was based on a California court decision by which the surrogate mother and her husband abandoned their parental responsibilities for the newborn. The Saint Gallen cantonal department responsible for births and marriages supported the two men but the Swiss federal justice department appealed the canton’s decision, which brought the case to court.

The court ruling dated August 19th partially recognized one concern of the justice department by requiring the genetic parentage of the child to be registered as part of the birth certificate. However, in its decision the court clearly recognizes the two men as fathers. “The administrative court recognized the judgment from the United States,” Karin Hochl, the lawyer for the gay couple told SDA.

This ruling can be appealed and then brought to the Swiss Supreme Court. No word yet if there are plans to do so.

Colombian Transgender Women Form Soccer Club To Combat Transphobia: VIDEO

Colombian trans football team

A group of trans women in Colombia have decided to combat transphobia by forming an all-trans football club.

Mariana, who was crowned Ms. Trans last year, says “with the World Cup, we are honouring and are proud of Colombia. We are trans, but we are still Colombians, and we want to be involved in Colombian society.”

Another team member adds, “We hope there will be acceptance from the community with our game. There is a tendency to fear what you don’t understand. This is a way for people to get to know us.”

Watch the Vocativ report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Colombian Transgender Women Form Soccer Club To Combat Transphobia: VIDEO" »

Two Gay Couples Granted Marriage Licenses in Colombia


Despite the July ruling by a judge in Bogota in support of marriage equality, doubts continue to linger about whether same-sex couples can indeed get married in Colombia. The confusion stems from a 2011 ruling from Colombia's Constitutional Court that declared the nation's Congress must act by June 20, 2013 to provide same-sex couples with the same rights before the law as heterosexual couples. After that date came and went without any substantive action by the Congress, it was up to court officials, mainly judges and notaries, to decide how they would implement the court's order.

Things appear to be moving again, as two gay coupless have been granted marriage licenses, Andrés Duque at Blabbeando reports:

In a surprising statement released on Wednesday, Colombian attorney and long-time LGBT-rights advocate Germán Humerto Rincón Perfetti announced that a .civil court judge had declared Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbón and William Alberto Castro Franco "united in civil matrimony" in a ceremony that took place on September 20th.

Then today the leading national newspaper El Espectador announced in its front page that Elizabeth Castillo and Claudia Zea (above) had joined them on Wednesday when a second civil court judge also granted them a marriage license. "I join you in a legitimate civil matrimony with all the prerogatives and rights that civil law grants you and the same obligations imposed by civil law," said the judge before the couple signed their marriage license.

Adds Duque:

Yesterday the Inspector General's office announced that it would fight to stop these marriages using a fast track appeal legal form called a "tutela".

Lawyer Mauricio Albarracín argues that for a "tutela" to proceed the applicant has to prove these marriages violate a person's rights which Albarracín says will be impossible for Ordoñez to prove.

The issue will probably head back to the upper courts in the future but as of this week Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbon is married to William Alberto Castro Franco and Claudia Zea is married to Elizabeth Castillo.


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