A monumental verdict has been reached! Chile has officially legalized marriage equality, marking a historic moment.
Finally! After a decade of campaigning by LGBTQ activists, Chile’s Senate and Lower House have passed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The law will come into force 90 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Minister of Social Development Karla Rubilar (photo by Gobierno de Chile)
“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.
For years, same-sex couples living in Chile could not marry, as the Civil Marriage Act defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The passing of the Domestic Partnership Act in November 2017 made it possible for same-sex couples to enter civil unions, but, as is often the case, they did not enjoy all of marriage’s benefits.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera (photo by Gobierno de Chile)
And then, last June the Chilean President Sebastián Piñera promised to speed up the legalization of marriage equality.
“I think the time for equal marriage has come to our country,” Pinera said during his annual address to lawmakers. “All people, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be able to live, love, and form a family with all the protection and dignity they need and deserve.”
It must be said that the marriage equality bill had been stalled in Chilean Congress for four long years after being introduced by the country’s former President, Michelle Bachelet in 2017.
Michelle Bachelet (photo by Gobierno de Chile)
Now all that remains is President Piñera’s signature for the bill to be definitively adopted, but this will not take long in coming.
In green, countries that legalized marriage equality in Latin America (map from Equaldex)
Argentina was the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. A few years later, in 2013, Brazil followed suit, and so did Colombia in 2016! Finally, Chile is catching up. This is an important step for LGBTQ rights in Latin America, and we can only hope that other nations like Bolivia, Paraguay, or Peru will follow suit soon enough!
The passing of same-sex marriage is a historic moment, as it shows that Chile is evolving and becoming more progressive. This law not only gives same-sex couples the right to marry but also sends a message about equality! The new legislation will surely bring positive changes in Chilean society which can break down barriers and discrimination too.