Chile’s LGBT advocacy group, Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh), announced that it’s suing the state of Chile over its prohibition of same sex marriages in the country.
The lawsuit is sponsored and was filed on Monday (3 September) by lawyers Ciro Colombara and Hunter T. Carter, a former aide under Hillary Clinton and gay marriage activist in the US.
Movilh and the lawyers filed it on behalf of three couples who were refused to marriage registration by the Civil Registry, their appeals were then rejected by the Court of Appeals and finally the country’s Supreme Court in 2011.
Two of these couples have been legally married abroad and upon their return, Chile refused to register and recognise their marriage.
The ruling by the Supreme Court meant effectively that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman as well as Chile will only recognise marriages contracted abroad by opposite sex couples.
The lawsuit, which Movilh says in its press statement is the first of its kind, was presented to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.
It claims that due to the above decision Chile violated several parts of the American Convention of Human Rights of which it is a signatory.
The convention obliges states to ‘respect every recognized right and liberty ‘ as well as ‘to guarantee them to every person subject to its jurisdiction, without any discrimination.’
In the press-statement Movilh said: ‘With this action, we seek to advance decisively the parliamentary discussion in Chile and approval of gay marriage and civil unions.
‘No doubt this debate will also contribute to further analysis of the Supreme Court’s judgement.’
The lawsuit is thus designed to pressurise the government of Chile to speed up legalization regarding same-sex marriage or civil union.
In 2010 Renovación Nacional (RN) party submitted a draft bill proposal to Congress of Chile on Acuerdo de Vida en Común (AVC), a civil union agreement identical to marriage other than in name, open to both same and opposite sex couples. However the legislation and its discussion has been stalled and not put to the vote.