Venezuelan Supreme Court Upholds Rights of Same-Sex Families in Landmark Ruling

Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) ruled earlier this month that children of same-sex married couples are entitled to the full rights and protections guaranteed by the state under the nation’s constitution.

By Lucas Koerner
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“I am the Inclusion Revolution [play on words combining ‘revolution’ with ‘inclusion’]” (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)
“I am the Inclusion Revolution [play on words combining ‘revolution’ with ‘inclusion’]” (Carlos Jasso/Reuters)

Philadelphia, December 20, 2016 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) ruled earlier this month that children of same-sex married couples are entitled to the full rights and protections guaranteed by the state under the nation’s constitution.

The historic case involved two Venezuelan women, Giniveth Soto and Migdely Miranda, who were married in Argentina in 2011, where they had a child by way of in vitro fertilization.

However, upon the couples’ return to Venezuela – where same-sex marriage was not legal – their child was not recognized under the Venezuelan civil code as a Venezuelan national born to both women and was thereby denied both last names.

Following the tragic murder of Soto in 2014, Miranda was dispossessed of all of the couple’s property by Soto’s family, who also sought to gain custody over the child. Miranda was consequently forced to move back to Argentina where her custody over her son was legally protected.

Nine months ago, the Venezuelan Equal Civil Association filed a constitutional appeal with the TSJ, requesting that the body overturn a lower court decision and recognize the child as natural born Venezuelan.

This month, the high court issued a reinterpretation of article 75 of the Venezuelan constitution, ruling that “same-sex couples can be heads of families, and as such, the state will provide protection to the family without distinction regarding its conformation, including to the children and adolescents”.

In the decision known by its number 16-0357, the TSJ also mandated the “registration [of the child] with the last names of both mothers in the civil registry, with Venezuelan nationality”.

Lastly, the court ordered the country’s tax administration body, the SENIAT, to officially recognize the child as the legal heir of both his mothers, entitling him to all of Soto’s possessions previously seized by her family.

Miranda praised the historic ruling as a “victory” – not only for her, her son, and her late wife – but also “for the millions of same-sex families that exist”.

“In this case, justice was done,” she told RT.

The verdict marks the second triumph for LGBTQ rights this year, following on a TSJ decision in May that struck down article 44 of Venezuela’s civil code, which explicitly defined marriage as between a man and a woman.