- The Constitutional Court came up with truly weird reasons for not recognizing a foreign same-sex marriage.
Chile’s Constitutional Court has invented truly strange and homophobic reasons for refusing to recognize a same-sex marriage from abroad.
They were ruling in a case that asked Chile to recognize the marriage between a lesbian couple. One of the pair is Chilean, the other Spanish and they married in Spain.
But the Constitutional Court rejected the couple’s appeal by five votes to four.
Chilean LGBT+ campaign, the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh), described the court’s reasons for rejection:
‘[The court used] openly homophobic and cave-like arguments, which go to the extreme of linking the links of same-sex couples with child abuse in Africa.’
The justices claimed it would force them to recognize polygamous, forced and abusive marriages.
Child abuse and Moon sect marriages
The Constitutional Court’s judgment claimed that if they accepted the same-sex couples’ marriage, ‘it could lead to intolerable extremes’.
They said a judgment for equality could force Chile to recognize ‘polygamous marriages in Muslim countries’.
They even claimed it could lead to child abuse by giving recognition to ‘the marriage of children from African countries’.
Moreover they claimed it could legitimize ‘[marriages] agreed by parents in Japanese society, and massive couples weddings held in the Moon sect in South Korea, among others’.
In practice, all the ruling does is leave the Spanish and Chilean couple, and those like them, without basic rights as married people. It also leaves their son, who they had through assisted fertilization in May 2009, unprotected.
‘Contempt’ for same-sex couples
Movilh leader, Rolando Jiménez, said (translated):
‘This is the second time that the [court] has refused to acknowledge that the prohibition of equal marriage violates constitutional rights.
‘The first time he did it in 2011. But now [the justices have] made homophobic arguments that are unprecedented and alarming.
‘Linking same-sex couples and single-parent families with child abuse, while claiming that equal marriage will open the door to marriage with children, is infamous and reflects unwarranted contempt for those who love people of the same sex.’
Movilh accused the court of ‘mercilessly violating the rights of same-sex couples and their children, thus violating the best interests of the child’.
Other justices disagree
However, not all the justices agreed with the ruling against the same-sex couple.
In a counter argument, those who voted for the couple, said marriage law in Chile should ‘evolve’.
They said: ‘The State must protect not only the family founded on marriage, but such a duty also covers de facto families, whether they are constituted by a heterosexual couple or not.’
Moreover they added there was a ‘greater reason’ to recognize ‘families legally constituted under equal marriage celebrated in Spain’.
And they said failing to recognize the lesbian couple harms their dignity.
Why same-sex marriage is still coming to Chile
Despite the court’s ruling, same-sex marriage campaigners in Chile still have some reasons to be optimistic.
In 2017, former President Michelle Bachelet introduced an equal marriage bill. Although there was some progress last year, the bill has not become law and is still under debate.
However, a survey in 2018 found that 65% of Chilean adults support same-sex marriage.
Moreover, a decision by the Inter-American Court from 2017 ruled that all member countries should legalize same-sex marriage.
That ruling helped trigger marriage equality in Costa Rica where the first same-sex couples wed last month.
But the ruling is also legally binding on Chile.
Of the court’s member countries, only Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and now Costa Rica have same-sex marriage.
But, alongside Chile, the ruling also applies to Barbados, Bolivia Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.