Panama: Bill Bars Same-Sex Couples from Adoption

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03/09/2021

Panama’s National Assembly passed a bill on March 3, 2021, that includes a discriminatory prohibition on adoption by same-sex couples, Human Rights Watch said today. Bill No.120, which aims to protect children and adolescents from unnecessary separation from their biological family, allows for adoption by both single persons and married couples. However, not only are same-sex marriages not yet legal in Panama, but the bill defines eligible married couples as those composed of partners of “different sex.” President Laurentino Cortizo should veto articles 22 and 26 of the bill, which violate international human rights standards on non-discrimination, respect for private and family life, and the rights of the child, and perpetuate prejudices about lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people. “Excluding same-sex couples as adoptive parents is not only stigmatizing but in Panama compounds the violation of not having their relationships acknowledged or protected in the first place,” said Cristian González Cabrera, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Categorically barring children from being adopted into loving and supportive families is also inconsistent with the principle of the best interest of the child.”

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