South America

Colombia’s first same-sex marriage annulled after anti-gay group files lawsuit


BOGOTA, Columbia — A same-sex marriage performed last month in the Columbian capital city of Bogota was annulled by a judge after a lawsuit was brought by an anti-gay foundation seeking to cancel the union.

The ruling comes after The Husband and Wife Foundation filed a constitutional challenge against a September 20 ruling by a Bogota civil court judge that had declared the couple, Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbon and William Alberto Castro Franco, married.

same-sex-marriageA second couple, Elizabeth Castillo and Claudia Zea, had been declared married by the same judge a week later.

In his Oct. 2 ruling, Judge Eduardo Diaz annulled the Borbon-Franco marriage, writing that “there is no constitutional right for gay people to marry.”

Javier Suarez, an attorney and Director of The Husband and Wife Foundation, applauded the court’s decision, and called for the removal and criminal sanctions against judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.

Judges should be removed who “support illegal acts due to the fact that they see homosexuality as a ‘human right’ when it is really a clinical and psychological problem,” he said.

One national lawmaker, Senator Armando Benetti, rejected the court’s ruling, saying that it violated the couple’s constitutionally protected right to raise a family.

“This will not be the first or the last court decision against couples of the same sex,” said Benetti. “For this reason I have maintained that the road to secure the fundamental rights for homosexual couples is a revision of all the constitutional orders that have been brought before the Constitutional Court.”

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In 2011, the Colombian Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples had a legal right to a family and ordered the Congress to remedy the situation.

The court said that if a law is not approved by June 20, 2013, then “gay couples can go to a notary and with the same solemnity of a heterosexual marriage enter a union similar to one between a heterosexual couple.”

Same-sex couples in Colombia turned to the courts after lawmakers failed to meet a June 20 deadline imposed by the high court.

A marriage bill died in the Colombia Senate in April after contentious debate ailed to produce a piece of legislation required to comply with the high court’s order.

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