The new government in Chile has indicated that gay marriage is not among its priorities.
Last August, President Michelle Bachelet introduced a bill to legalize gay marriage. Chile has recognized civil unions since 2015.
However, Bachelet’s four-year term as President ends this month, and the bill has not yet been approved by lawmakers.
Sebastián Piñera replaces Bachelet as President this month. The 68-year-old politician served as President of the country prior to Bachelet (2010-2014).
‘No commitment to take forward or lead a procedure regarding equal marriage’
Yesterday, a spokesperson for the incoming President said that the administration would not be prioritizing the bill.
‘Within the program there is no commitment to take forward or lead a procedure regarding equal marriage,’ said Minister General Secretary of Government Cecilia Pérez, reports T13. ‘It will be the parliamentarians themselves who must have the consensus, the necessary dialogue to be able to carry out that bill.’
She indicated the incoming administration was more willing to implement a Gender Identity Bill also introduced by Bachelet. She said the government would, ‘advance in all the discrimination that lies behind us and respect the rights of each of our compatriots.’
That bill will allow transgender adults to legally change their name and gender without surgery or a court order. It was approved January by the Chile Congress.
Its passing comes at a time when transgender rights are much in the news in Chile. The film A Fantastic Woman, which centers on a transgender woman’s life, is a Best Foreign Language movie contender at this weekend’s Academy Awards in Los Angeles.
‘The Government on duty must take care of it’
Responding to Pérez’s statement, Juan Enrique Pi, the President of Chile LGBT advocacy group Fundación Iguales tweeted his frustration.
‘Sexual diversity matters to most Chileans. Structural discrimination towards the LGBTI community is a form of violence, and the Government on duty must take care of it.’
La agenda de la diversidad sexual le importa a la mayoría de los chilenos. Las discriminaciones estructurales hacia la comunidad LGBTI son también una forma de violencia, y el gobierno de turno debe hacerse cargo de ellas. https://t.co/PVgrdtSnSp
— Juan Enrique Pi (@juanenriquepi) March 1, 2018
A spokesperson for the group, Isabel Amor, told T13, ‘We hope that the next administration does not impede the legislative process and that it understands that since most of the citizens are in favor of the approval of equal marriage, our representatives in the Congress have a serious discussion about it.’