Chile legalizes same-sex marriage in historic vote

Chile legalizes same-sex marriage in historic vote

December 8, 2021

Chile becomes the seventh country in Latin America to approve same-sex marriage ahead of critical election

  • Chile’s Senate and lower house voted Tuesday to approve same-sex marriage 
  • The bill was partially approved in November before senators sent it back to a committee to  detecting ambiguities in the historic legislation
  • Chile is the seventh country in Latin America to recognize the marriage between people of the same sex
  • The proposal receiving the backing of 82 members of the Senate while 20 voted against it and three abstained

Chile’s Congress passed a law to legalize same-sex marriage on Tuesday in a milestone for the conservative South American nation after a decade-long legal battle and with the country delicately poised ahead of a crossroads election this month.

‘Today is a historic day, our country has approved same-sex marriage, one more step forward in terms of justice, in terms of equality, recognizing that love is love,’ Minister of Social Development Karla Rubilar said after the vote.

Chile’s Senate and lower house of parliament both voted heavily in favor of the bill on Tuesday, which had previously been partially approved in November before the Senate sent it back to a committee to clarify ambiguities.

Current President Sebastian Pinera, who will leave office in March, has backed the bill and is expected to sign it into law.

People embrace outside the Congress as the Senate vote to approve a same-sex marriage bill in Valparaiso, Chile, on Tuesday. The South American nation becomes the seventh country to legalize same-sex marriage in Latin America

Supporters of a same-sex marriage bill celebrate after Chilean congressional leaders voted to approve the legislation 

Chile’s same-sex bill received the backing of 82 members in Congress on Tuesday, while 20 voted against it and three abstained

The bill received the backing of 82 members in Congress while 20 voted against it and three abstained. 

The vote culminates a process that began in 2017, when the first bill was introduced, backed by then-President Michelle Bachelet. 

Chile is now poised to join 30 countries globally with legal same-sex marriage, including Argentina, Ecuador, Brasil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay in Latin America.

The union between people of the same-sex is also legal in 24 Mexican states while eight other states require an injunction for the marriage to become valid.  

‘It is hard to believe that today we are taking this step,’ said Rolando Jimenez from LGBT rights group Movilh, one of the major backers of the bill and which helped spearhead Chile’s push to legalize same sex marriage for more than a decade.

People cheer Valparaiso, Chile as the nation joined Argentina, Ecuador, Brasil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay as the only countries that approve same-sex marriage

 

A couple hold hands outside Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, on Tuesday after learning that the Senate had approved a same-sex marriage bill

Chile will elect a new president on December 19, choosing between progressive Gabriel Boric and social conservative Jose Antonio Kast, a practicing Catholic. 

The two offer wildly different visions for the country’s future.

While Kast disagrees with same-sex marriage, he had said he would have signed the bill into law anyway had it been passed by Congress during a potential presidency of his.

A couple celebrates with their daughter upon learning that the Senate had approved a same-sex marriage bill in Chile

Chile has long had a conservative reputation even compared with its deeply Catholic Latin American peers. Still, a strong majority of Chileans now support same-sex marriage and Chileans have shown signs of moving left on social and cultural issues in recent years.

Civil unions have been permitted in Chile since 2015, which affords same-sex partners many but not all the benefits of married couples, like the right to adoption. 

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