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Chile expected to legalize gay marriage

New president Michelle Bachelet campaigned on promises of equal marriage, trans rights, and improvements in anti-discrimination and hate crime law
Michelle Bachelet, Chile's new president, is expected to fight for the legalization of gay marriage.

Chile’s new president is expected to fight for same-sex marriage.

Michelle Bachelet, who officially took office yesterday (11 March), is expected to boost efforts for the LGBTI community.

The socialist leader was inaugurated in a ceremony in the city of Valparaiso after her election win in December over conservative rival Evelyn Matthei.

She won 62% of the vote, and is the first Chilean president in over half a century to return for a second term. She originally served from 2006 to 2010.

Last year, Bachelet endorsed marriage rights for same-sex couples during the campaign.

She also supports a bill that would allow trans Chileans to legally change their name and sex without surgery, hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations.

Bachelet also backs efforts to strengthen hate crime and anti-discrimination law against the LGBTI community.

In an interview last year, she said: ‘Marriage equality, I believe we have to make it happen.’

Jaime Parade, spokesperson for Chile’s leading sexual rights group Movilh, told GSN that Bachelet failed on her LGBTI promises during her first presidency.

‘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?

During the results announced last year, it was found her New Majority coalition achieved a slim majority in both houses.

However, in the Chilean Parliament the bills will need a super majority to pass some of the reforms she has promised.

But with Bachelet in charge, Chile could become the fourth South American nation to allow same-sex marriage.

Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil already allow same-sex couples to wed.

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She also supports a bill that would allow trans Chileans to legally change their name, hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations.

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