Chile legalizes same-sex marriage in historic vote

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

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“Today is a historic day, our country has approved same-sex marriage, one more step forward in terms of justice, in terms of equality, love is love,” Social Development Minister Carla Rubiler said after the vote.

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

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Current President Sebastian Pinera, who will step down in March, has backed the bill and is expected to turn it into law.

The vote concludes a process that began in 2007, when then-President Michelle Bachelet pushed Congress to pass a same-sex law. Chile is now ready to join 30 other countries where same-sex marriage is legal – According to the Human Rights Campaign – in Latin America including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica and Uruguay.

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“It’s hard to believe that we’re taking this step today,” said Rolando Jiménez of LGBTQ rights group Movilh, one of the major proponents of the bill and which has worked for more than a decade as Chile’s efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. helped push.

Chile will elect a new president on 19 December, choosing between progressive Gabriel Boric and social conservative Jose Antonio Cast, a practicing Catholic. Both present wildly different visions for the future of the country.

While Cast disagrees with gay marriage, he said he would have signed the bill into law had it been passed by Congress during his possible presidency anyway.

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

Civil unions have been allowed in Chile since 2015, which gives same-sex partners many but not all of the benefits of married couples, such as the right to adoption.

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