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LATIN AMERICA

Colombia’s Constitutional Court paves way for same-sex marriage

Decision comes five months after judges approved adoption by gay parents

Matrimonio gay en Colombia pulsa en la foto
Gay rights activists protest in Bogota in 2013. AFP

In a landmark ruling, Colombia’s Constitutional Court has effectively approved same-sex marriage, following approval of adoption by same-sex parents in November.

In a six-to-three vote, judges overturned a proposed ruling that the term “marriage” could only be applied to unions between men and women. The decision is one of the most socially progressive steps the predominantly Catholic nation has taken.

The judges' decision, which has been hailed by the gay community in Colombia, follows in the footsteps of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil, and took the judges weeks of deliberation.

The ruling, which has been hailed by the gay community in Colombia, follows in the footsteps of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil

The Court had already recognized same-sex civil unions, but activists urged the authorities to give gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual marriages. Chile granted same-sex couples civil partnerships in 2015. 

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In 2011, the Court recognized that same-sex couples constituted families and gave Congress a deadline by which to pass a law legalizing gay marriage. After lawmakers failed to pass the measure, the Court allowed at least 50 couples to enter into civil unions, while others opted for “contracts” which left them in a legal limbo.

Thursday’s decision means that despite expected challenges in the courts, notary publics or judges in Colombia can no longer refuse to marry same-sex couples.

English version by Dyane Jean François

 

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