June 1, 2017 at 12:35 pm EDT | by Nicolás Levy
Former Chilean president: Straight couples should have adoption priority

Sebastián Piñera, Chile, gay news, Washington Blade

Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (Photo public domain)

SANTIAGO, Chile — Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera over the last few weeks has sought to highlight his conservative platform ahead of next month’s primaries in the 2017 presidential campaign. He made this clear during an interview on a national radio station where he pointed out that heterosexual couples are more stable when it comes to parenting and therefore must have priority in adoption.

This represents a clear difference with what Piñera said in April when he stated his government will not discriminate on the basis of gender, age or sexual orientation in adoption if he were to serve a second term.

Piñera’s comments contrast greatly with the more liberal campaign — which included a gay couple in television ads — that took him to La Moneda in 2009. Congress passed an anti-discrimination law in 2012 and his government introduced a civil unions bill.

Piñera has now claimed it “is not that couples don’t have the right to adopt but it’s the child’s right to be adopted.”

“The best for the child is to be received by a family integrated by a mother and a father, given those two figures are part of nature,” he added.

The former president stated there is no discrimination towards anyone, but the best is being chosen for the child.

Days after his statements, Piñera went on another radio station to say his government would seek to reform the adoption system to prioritize straight married couples over single or widowed people. He did not include same sex or straight couples who have entered into civil unions.

Piñera campaign seeks to ‘marginalize the LGBT community’

Representatives of the Chilean sexual diversity movement have criticized Piñera’s comments.

Juan Enrique Pi, president of Fundación Iguales, stated it is difficult to understand the former president’s conservative turn, and that his “current campaign makes an effort to marginalize the LGBT community with prejudice and a style that does not promote dialogue.”

Others have claimed Piñera’s proposal to reform the adoption system is not at all new, for this “priority protocol” is already in place. They have instead said that a true reform should include couples in civil unions who might increase the pool of possible parents for children still living in government institutions, which have come under increased scrutiny over whether they are adequately caring for them.

Piñera sparked controversy last year after he reiterated the idea that “marriage is between a man and a woman.” Advocates have also criticized him for his support of evangelical groups, which are among the strongest opponents to pro-LGBT efforts.

Nicolás Levy is a Chilean journalist who specializes in LGBT human rights. He is a correspondent for the Washington Blade in Santiago, Chile.

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