July 23, 2007 / 8:12 PM / 12 years ago

Spanish judge strips lesbian of daughters' custody

MADRID (Reuters) - A judge in Spain has stripped a mother of custody of her two daughters because she is a lesbian, media said on Monday, in a ruling that has sparked an outcry in the gay community and brought disciplinary action against him.

In a ruling last month in the southeast region of Murcia, Judge Fernando Ferrin handed the girls over to their father’s care, arguing that a homosexual environment threatened their education and upbringing.

He said a gay environment increased the “risk” that the children would also grow up homosexual.

“The mother has to choose between her daughters and the new partner,” Ferrin was quoted as saying in his June 6 ruling which has only now come to light.

The decision provoked outrage among Spain’s gay community, which said it ran contrary to the constitution, and prompted Murcia’s Supreme Court to open disciplinary proceedings against Ferrin.

The same judge, in a separate case, already faces a probe into attempts to block the adoption of a girl by her mother’s gay partner.

Homosexuals in Spain benefit from some of Europe’s most liberal gay rights legislation following decades of repression, including imprisonment, under conservative dictator Francisco Franco.

Homosexuality was legalized in 1979 and two years ago the Socialist government made Spain only the third country in the world to legalize gay marriage.

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