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Chile approves same-sex civil unions

Chile approves same-sex civil unions

Chile is poised to become the next South American country to recognize same-sex unions after its House of Representatives approved a ‘civil union’ bill this week.

A significant majority passed the bill on Tuesday, with 86 legislators voting in its favor and 23 against (with two abstentions).

The bill has the backing of the Government, with President Michelle Bachelet [pictured] saying that she believes civil unions are a stepping-stone towards full same-sex marriage rights.

When she became President of March 2014, Bachelet stated that the civil union bill was one of her priorities, but that marriage rights – which have proved a more divisive issue with the Chilean public according to polls – remained a long-term goal.

Some LGBT campaigners have expressed disappointment that the bill would not allow for same-sex marriage, while others have said that the bill is still welcome as a step in the right direction, reports TeleSUR.

The bill, which will now go to the Senate for expected approval, allows for the creation if the Pacto de Unión Civil (PUC), which couples who live together in a committed relationship can enter regardless of gender.