.- Temporarily ending a heated debate over the legal recognition of a British lesbian couple as âfather and motherâ of a baby girl, a judge in Ecuador ruled on May 22 that only the biological mother can be affirmed as a legal parent.
The baby girl, Satya Amani, was born in Ecuador to Nicola Susan Rothon by artificial insemination. Rothon lives in Quito âEcuadorâs capital â with Helen Louis Bicknell. Both are British citizens who legalized their union as a same sex âmarriageâ in England in 2010.
Last December, with the support of international Gay and Lesbian organizations, the couple sued Ecuadorâs Civil Registry, demanding the right to register Satya Amani under both last names.
In Ecuador, as in most Latin American countries, children are legally registered under the fatherâs and motherâs last names, in that order.
On Tuesday, however, Judge Vicente Altamirano issued a ruling stating that the legislation in Ecuador âdoes not contemplate a double maternal affiliation.â
âThe laws pertaining civil registry specifically speak of âfather and mother,â âpaternity and maternity,â âman and womanâ in the Civil Code and even the Constitution.â
Altamiranoâs ruling also stated that the decision does not translate as discrimination against the lesbian couple, since âno civil servant or public official has denied the right of Nicola Susan Rothon, mother of Satya Amani, to register the child under her name.â
âThe minor is the daughter of Nicola Susan Rothon, meaning that the two, mother and child, share the same blood, so they must share the same last name, as clearly expressed by our legislation.â
âBut what does Helen Louise Bicknell represent to the child that will be named Satya Amani?â the ruling added. âThe answer is: nothing, since this British citizen has no kinship of affinity or blood.â
The judge's ruling can now only be appealed by the couple to the Constitutional Court, the highest judicial authority in the country.