BY DANICA COTO, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's Supreme Court narrowly voted Wednesday to uphold a law banning gay couples from adopting children.
The 5-4 vote came in the case of an unidentified woman who has sought for the last eight years to adopt a 12-year-old girl who her partner of more than 20 years had through in vitro fertilization. It was the first time that the court heard a case on same-sex adoptions.
A majority of judges upheld the constitutionality of a law that states a person cannot adopt a single-parent child if the would-be adopter is of the same sex as the child's mother or father without that parent losing their legal rights.
The judges also said a family composed of a mother and father is best for a child's dignity, stability and well-being.
"The state ... has not criminalized their sentimental relationship, but it does not have a constitutional obligation to award this relationship the same rights that other relationships have when it comes to adoption procedures," the majority's opinion said.
The majority also found that so-called second-parent adoptions, in which couples jointly adopt children, do not apply in Puerto Rico. That issue affects the case in question in part, the majority said, because the girl would have to be registered with two mothers and the U.S. territory's laws do not address such a situation.
The judges said it is up to legislators to change adoption laws if they see fit.