Tag Archives: Chile LGBT

Moving Forward – Civil Unions Now Legalised in Chile

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) has applauded the Chilean legislature’s vote to allow civil unions for all people, including same-sex couples.

The historic decision grants legal status to stable and permanent cohabitation by two people, without regard to either person’s sex or gender. The bill does not legalize same-sex marriage.

“This is a major step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Chileans and families who can now enter into a life partnership under the law assured of benefits and rights. 

It shows the dedication of the Chilean civil society, and the political will of the government. However, while we view this decision very positively, we also recognize the legal limits for civil partnerships.

While this bill gives civil partners nearly all the rights and benefits of married couples, the ultimate goal must be full equality before the law, which includes the possibility of marriage.”

María Mercedes Gómez, IGLHRC

The Chamber of Deputies approved the bill with 78 votes in favor, following Senate approval. This final legislative step gives a green light for the bill to become law with President Michelle Bachelet’s signature.

The approved text comes after four years of deliberation and is based on recommendations from civil society organizations, including Fundación Iguales. Most importantly, the law expands the concept of family, assuring that the legal status of individuals entering the agreement is modified in the Civil Registry and that Family Courts implement the new processes.

Under this law, children in cohabitating couples will be considered relatives by affinity and, if one of the parents becomes disabled, a family judge has the discretion to grant a civil partner custody of the children, without giving priority to biological family bonds.
This law also guarantees child and family benefits, social security, and life-insurance benefits.

Karen Atala, a judge and board member of Fundación Iguales, said:

“The LGBTI community, our partners, and families, are starting to see justice. Eleven years have passed since the Supreme Court of Chile ruled to take my daughters away from me because of prevailing stereotypes and prejudice.

It was the prejudices — and not our lives — that made lesbian relationships illegitimate and deemed our families to be anomalies.

This law gives us legitimacy. We’re still working on gaining the full rights of marriage. We are not going to rest until we win full legal recognition for marriage, affiliation, and adoption.”

Chile Addresses Report on LGBTI rights violations

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad y las Diversidad (Organization of Transsexuals for Dignity and Diversity; OTD), and 14 other organizations recently submitted a report on Human Rights Violations of LGBT people in Chile to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The report by the US-based NGO details flaws in the anti-discrimination law, abuse of gay and trans people in society and prisons, and problems relating to the general lack of dignity in the treatment of LGBTI persons.

The UN HRC also closed a dialogue with the Chilean government about the country’s pursuit of its human rights obligations in many areas.

This follows a resolution Chile signed in June at the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity and Expression” in which the government agreed “to condemn all forms of discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression”, and to “eliminate, where they exist, barriers faced by lesbians, gays, and bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in equal access to political participation and in other areas of public life, and to avoid interferences in their private life.” The resolution also urged states to adopt legislation to protect LGBTI people from violence, discrimination, and harassment.

In an IGLHRC press release, Director of Programs Marianne Møllmann said that the government of Chile has been cooperative and engaged with LGBT issues. “Throughout the committee’s dialogue with the Chilean government, it was clear that LGBTI issues are not a fringe concern,” she said. “Until our rights are fully protected, Chile’s human rights record will remain blemished.”
Chile has been on front lines of LGBTI legal progress on the continent. In response to the progress needed, the government promised to:

  • “Push for amendments to the anti-discrimination law to overcome legal uncertainty and to provide for victims reparations;
  • “Support the proposed gender identity law currently before the Chilean Congress;
  • “Create a new gender identity area within the police human rights unit;
  • “Develop and promote a protocol within the Ministry of Health to ensure that infants born with ambiguous genitals (intersex infants) will not be mutilated; and
  • “Develop and promote a protocol within the Ministry of Education to ensure and promote respect for diverse gender identities in all school.”

Director of the OTD, Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte, outlined avenues for progress. “We have already developed a protocol on trans diversity in schools for the Ministry of Education, which we have shared with the government,” he said. “We are working on a protocol on respect in treatment of intersex infants that we will be happy to share as well. The moment I am back in Chile, I will reach out to the government to put these commitments on a concrete timeline.”