Panama has passed a cruel bill that would ban same-sex couples from adopting children.
The government of Panama passed bill number 120 which aims to protect children and minors from being separated from their biological family. The bill allows for children to be adopted by both single parents and married couples.
However, same-sex marriages are not yet legal in the Central American country. Additionally, sections of the bill define married couples, who are eligible to adopt children, as those who are composed of “different sex” partners.
The bill, which passed the National Assembly, now goes to Panama’s president Laurentino Cortizo to be signed into law. Cortizo does still have the legal authority to veto or change all or part of the bill.
Cristian González Cabrera, LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said the exclusion of same sex-couples as adoptive parents in the bill is “not only stigmatizing”, but also “compounds the violation of not having their relationships acknowledged or protected in the first place”.
“Categorically barring children from being adopted into loving and supportive families is also inconsistent with the principle of the best interest of the child,” Cabrera said.
HRW called on Cortizo to dismiss the articles which “perpetuate prejudices about lesbian, gay and bisexual people”. It added the articles “violate international human rights standards on non-discrimination, respect for private and family life and the rights of the child”.
The human rights organisation also said the bill “flies in the face” of recent statements by the Panamanian government that it would not tolerate violations of the rights of LGBT+ people.
The ministry of public security of Panama tweeted in July that its government establishments are “respectful of human rights and reject all types of violence, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia or discrimination, regardless of who it comes from.”
Same-sex adoption is legal in Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. However, other countries in Central and South America – including Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Venezuela – only allow adoptions by single LGBT+ people.