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Chile’s civil union campaign shows benefits for straight and gay couples

Highlighting the health and financial problems gay and straight families encounter, the country’s leading LGBTI rights group Movilh has launched a new YouTube campaign to make civil unions a reality

Chile’s leading sexual rights group has launched a new campaign to encourage the government to legalize civil unions.

As a presidential run-off vote approaches on 15 December, Movilh is putting presidential candidates’ promises of marriage equality to the test by launching a YouTube campaign promoting civil unions for gay and straight couples.

In a video narrated in Spanish, the video says over 2,000,000 people living in Chile are unmarried couples.

Using the example of a lesbian couple Susana and Daniela, Movilh presents a series of hypothetical difficulties straight and gay couples face without legal protection of their union outside of marriage, from health problems to financial protections.

For example, the bank discriminates against Susana and Daniela because they are not legally recognized as a household, despite their joint income and joint savings for a house of their own.

‘The sum of their salaries would allow them to have a better quality of life,’ the narrator says.

Susana is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and her health deteriorates, as she was never able to secure a health plan with her partner.

Susana dies, and her parents keep everything away from Daniela, including the house.

Daniela is left out on the street, which Movilh reasons occurs in reality because the country lacks laws protecting civil unions.

With laws protecting civil unions, Movilh argues the couple would’ve had their investments protected, and Susana may have even survived her illness.

Movilh makes the point Daniela and Susana could be any number of same-sex and heterosexual couples in Chile who for whatever reason, choose not to marry in the Church.

Civil unions were presented in Chile as early as 2006, but have not advanced.

Michelle Bachelet, who was Chile’s president from 2006 to 2010, is in the majority running up to the run-off elections this month. While she has reiterated her support for marriage equality both in her previous administration and her current campaign, some LGBTI activists doubther commitment.

Jaime Parada Hoyl, spokesperson for Movilh, told GSN that Bachelet failed on her promises to address gay marriage during her first presidency.

He said: ‘Bachelet didn’t have the courage during her first administration to make good on four campaign promises that dealt with sexual diversity including an anti-discrimination law, a civil union law, anti-homophobic bullying legislation and modifications to the education system to include topics of sexual diversity.

Parada asked: ‘Why should we believe her now when years ago she missed opportunities to make these changes?'

Chile joins a number of Latin American countries progressing in terms of LGBTI rights. In 2008, Uruguay legalized civil unions, and in 2010 Argentina legalized same-sex marriage.

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