Colombian authorities have denied a U.S. journalist the right to bring home two young Colombian boys he had legally adopted, after learning of his sexual orientation, according to La Semana magazine.
The authorites acknowledge that his sexuality was an issue but claim it was the that fact he kept it a secret from the children that they objected to -- a claim Chandler Burr says is totally false.
Speaking on CNN's American Morning on Wednesday, Burr -- a novelist, former New York Times columnist, and museum curator -- described his stuggle to get his boys back, after the adoption process was halted at the last minute.
The story began in 2009 when Burr travelled to Colombia and, through the Colombian Family Welfare Unit (ICBF), began the process of adopting the two boys, now aged 9 and 13. The institute approved the application, allowing the children to spend the summer of 2009 in New York.
It was only during the final preparations in May 2011 that problems arose. According to Burr, after mentioning his sexuality in an informal conversation, a lawyer representing the ICBF removed the children from his care and interrogated them on the issue, before notifying Burr that he would not be able to take them back to the U.S.
Responding to yesterday's CNN program with an interview on Caracol Radio, the new director of ICBF, Diego Molano, has defended the decision on the basis that the children have "a right to know who their father is", and that Mr. Burr had hidden this important information about his sexual orientation from them.
Mr. Burr says the children knew that he was gay and didn't have any problem with it. Burr reported, "When the lawyer asked them if they knew I was gay, my eldest son Brian, who is 13, responded 'I know and I don't care.'"
According to former judge Eduardo Montealegre, "Colombian law allows a single person to adopt a child. Furthermore, there is no prohibition or limitation restricting adoption based on the sexual orientation of the individual." In practice, however, adoption by gay men in Colombia is seldom allowed.
Burr has vowed to fight the Colombian authorities on the issue, claiming that his rights are being violated. The case is currently under review in the Constitutional Court.
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