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Chile’s Senate approves crucial articles for same-sex marriage law

Chile’s Senate approves crucial articles for same-sex marriage law

  • The Senate’s Constitution Commission has said yes to equal marriage.
Pride in Santiago, Chile.

The Chilean Senate’s Constitution Commission has approved marriage equality in an important step forward for a bill that has been languishing for years.

Former President Michelle Bachelet originally proposed the bill back in 2017, but it has met with delays.

Now the country’s Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (Movilh) has helped move it forwards. They requested the Senate Constitution, Legislation, Justice and Regulation Commission examine the Equal Marriage Law. And it has approved most of the articles within it.

Movilh’s lawyer, Mónica Arias says:

‘One of the most relevant approved articles is Article One, which recognizes the kinship marital relationship between spouses, whatever their sex, and not just between a man and a woman.

‘With this, without a doubt, we can say that the Constitution Commission said yes to equal marriage.’

In total, the committee approved 29 of the articles in the bill – roughly half of the total. As part of this, the senate approved some articles which would recognize same-sex parents and rainbow families.

It will examine the remaining 27 articles, where some senators want changes, in more detail.

Movilh spokesperson Óscar Rementeria said: ‘This is good news, as it implies that in one session, positive progress was made in more than half of the project.’

Chile’s long wait for same-sex marriage

With regards to those 27 points needing more discussion, Senators  Iván Moreira and Víctor Pérez, of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union, have raised 16 of them. They are objecting to parts of the bill.

Meanwhile Senator Juan Ignacio Latorre, from the left-wing Democratic Revolution party, has raised questions about the remaining 11 articles. He aims to improve the law.

President Bachelet originally presented the Equal Marriage Bill in August 2017, having agreed it with Movilh. She subsequently left office and became the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Then in November 2017, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all of its signatory countries must allow same-sex marriage.

Of the court’s member countries, only Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Costa Rica have done so.

But the ruling also applies to Chile – as well as Barbados, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname.

Despite this ruling, in 2018 the new government of President Sebastián Piñera said marriage equality was no longer a priority.

But then Jaime Quintana promised to move the issue forward when he became president of the Senate in March 2019. He said the Senate would pass the bill last year, but the issue has dragged on.

Meanwhile LGBT+ Chileans already have access to civil unions. And a 2018 survey showed the 65% of citizens in Chile above the age of 18 support same-sex marriage.