Chile Legalises Same-Sex Marriages

Chile Legalises Same-Sex Marriages
Image: Image: Movilh

Chile’s Congress approved a bill on Tuesday legalising same-sex marriages, with 82 votes in favour, 20 against and 2 abstentions. 

Same-sex couples have, until now, been able to unite under Chile’s Civil Union Pact, which was approved in 2015. This legislation gave same-sex couples many rights that come with a legal marriage but denied them the right to adopt. With the new law, full parental rights will be extended to same-sex parents wanting to adopt, as well as provide them with more spousal benefits.

Activists and interest groups have spent more than a decade advocating for these rights. MOVILH, Chilean LGBTQI rights group, said in a tweet that “After centuries of abuse, the doors of justice, equality and dignity have opened to same-sex couples”.

Chile becomes the eighth country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriages. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay and parts of Mexico already have marriage equality laws. On a global scale, Chile will be the 31st country to give equal marriage rights to queer couples.

A Long Struggle For Marriage Equality

The first step towards the legalisation was taken four years ago when the former socialist president Michelle Bachelet presented the motion in Congress.The law then stalled, waiting for the support of the current president Sebastian Piñera, right-wing conservative, who had earlier opposed the legislation. 

But six months ago he indicated that he had changed his view on the matter, paving the way for Congress to act.

“I think the time has come to guarantee that freedom and that dignity to all people. I think the time has come for marriage equality in our country,” Piñera, who is scheduled to leave office in March, said in an annual speech to Congress on June 1.

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