Chile’s ex-president promises gay marriage again in re-election race

Some Chilean activists doubt Michelle Bachelet's commitment to the LGBT community, accusing her of failed promises from her first administration

Chile’s ex-president promises gay marriage again in re-election race
16 April 2013

Michelle Bachelet has reaffirmed her support for same-sex marriage in Chile as she runs for president for the second time.

In an interview Sunday with Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN), Bachelet was asked: ‘In your previous campaign, you promised equal rights for homosexuals but you did not talk about gay marriage.

‘Now, eight years later, same-sex marriage, yes or no?’

Bachelet, who in 2006 became the first female president of Chile, responded: ‘Eight years ago I spoke about civil unions, and we made preparations in that direction. The world has progressed, I think Chile has progressed, and the family model has changed in our country.’

Bachelet continued to say that all family models should be considered, dancing around the host’s direction question of ‘same-sex marriage, yes or no?’

At the end of the interview Bachelet agreed: ‘Marriage equality, I believe we have to make happen.’

Despite two interviews in the past week where Bachelet directly and indirectly lent her support for legalizing gay marriage in Chile, some activists doubt the re-elect’s commitment to the LGBT community.

Jaime Parada, spokesperson for Chile’s leading sexual rights group Movilh, told GSN that Bachelet failed on her promises to address gay marriage during her first presidency from 2006 to 2010.

‘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?

Parada explained that other presidential candidates, like Marco Enríquez Ominami and Andrés Velasco, have spoken out in direct support of same-sex marriage and adoption.

‘She [Bachelet] hasn’t even demonstrated her full commitment this time around. She’s only said “I will make an announcement on the topic in the next few weeks”’.

In an interview last week with Chile’s social news website The Clinic Online, Bachelet was asked if she, like former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, supported gay marriage.

‘The fact that marriage equality is a today topic that can be discussed openly reflects on a country with less prejudice and a stronger sense of reality. I believe in a family model that is founded more on affection and support, and less on stereotypes.

‘That is why in the coming weeks I will make a proposal to country on this matter [gay marriage].’

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