|Would-be father Burr and his would-be adoptees. (Photo: El Tiempo)|
So, when a journalist from the United States - employed by no less than the New York Times - met the boys and petitioned to adopt them, you'd assume that all involved would be thrilled: not only would the boys have every prospect of receiving a good education and a loving upbringing, but the Colombian Institute of Family Wellbeing, or ICBF, would make a bit of progress in its backlog of thousands of orphans seeking loving parents.
But when the prospective father, Chandler Burr, informed ICBF officials that he was gay, the proceeding stopped.
That was last spring. Then, a recent series of articles in El Tiempo pushed ICBF officials to reconsider Burr's petition - and this time they approved it, in part because the boys want to be adopted by Burr. ICBF officials might also have reviewed the many scientific studies which have found that gay parents generally do as fina a job at child raising as anybody else.
But then Colombia's arch-conservative attorney general - the same guy who wants to prohibit abortion in all situations - opposed the adoption by Burr. The Catholic Church also opposed the adoption, based on outdated stereotypes about gays. That's particularly offensive in light of the Catholic Church's efforts to cover up sexual abuses by Catholic priests.
The whole episode exposes the deep cultural prejudices that persist against gays. If Burr, who works for one of the world's most respected publications, is a museum curator and even has his own Wikpedia entry, weren't gay, he'd likely be considered an ideal father. But he is gay, and so there's an unspoken suspicion that he might just be a child molester or worse.
Even El Tiempo, generally progressive and open-minded on gay rights issues, describes Burr as "confessing" that he was gay - even tho I'd bet that Burr is proud of his sexual orientation.
Finally, a commentarist below says, Burr was able to travel to the U.S. with the boys, where hopefully all will live happily ever after and prove wrong the church and A.G.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours