The legal community in Uruguay is now questioning whether a law passed in the nation’s congress last week would make Uruguay, a predominantly Roman Catholic nation, the first country in Latin America to legalize gay adoption. After the law was approved, the New York Times reported that the legislation would allow gay couples to adopt individually, but not as a couple. However, doubt arose within gay rights groups after a closer examination of the text that the law would not extend adoption rights to gay and lesbian individuals or couples.
President Tabaré Vázquez, who supported the legislation, initially faced criticism from the Catholic Church. According Agence France Presse, the Archbishop of Montevido, Nicolas Cotugno condemned the legislation before its final approval, stating, “It’s not about religion, philosophy or sociology. It’s something which is mainly about the respect of human nature itself.”
Deputy Margarita Percovich, chief author of the legislation, recognized that the law does not specifically mention adoption rights for gay and lesbian individuals, but told the Associated Press that the legislation would apply because “the law enables couples in civil unions to adopt children without impediment.” However, the Associated Press also reported that Attorney Juan A. Ramirez told the newspaper El Pais that “any objective interpretation of the law would conclude that either they forgot to mention that gay couples can adopt, or they didn’t want to mention it. They didn’t want to take the bull by the horns and resolve it clearly – they left it undefined.”