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Chile: Court apologises to judge denied access to her daughters because she is gay

Joseph McCormick December 15, 2012

The Chilean Government issued an apology to a lesbian judge who was denied custody of her three children because she is gay.

On Friday, during a ceremony led by Justice Minister Teodoro Ribera, Magistrate Karen Atala was told she would receive $70,000 (£43,300), and would have her medical and psychological treatment covered, reported CTV news.

In March, Ms Atala won her custody case against the Chilean courts, which had taken away her three daughters in 2004 believing her sexuality to put their development ‘at risk’.

The apology comes ten months after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights criticised the decision by Chile’s Supreme Court to uphold an order removing Ms Atala’s children from her and giving their father custody because of Ms Atala’s sexual orientation.

Chile’s Supreme Court had ruled that the girls were in a “position of risk” and could become “objects of social discrimination” and have hindered “psychic development” by living with the judge and her female partner.

Two of Ms Atala’s daughters are now adults, and the third is a teenager.

This apology comes after Chile’s president Sebastian Pinera signed anti-discrimination legislation into law, back in July. 

In the first ruling under the new law, last week a Chilean judge fined a motel for refusing entry to a same-sex couple, and ordered that it can’t refuse entry in future.

More: Americas, anti-discrimination law, apology, Chile, chile, chilean government, custody, custody battle, karen atala, lesbian parents, magistrate karen atala, teodoro ribera

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