Tag Archives: Chile

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.”

Making a Stand in Chile to Stamp Out Anti-Gay Discrimination

It was announced Tuesday, that Chilean metro stations, Santiago, have joined forces with the Movement for Integration and Homosexual Freedom (MIHF) to raise awareness, acceptance of LGBT people, and stamp out Anti-Gay discrimination.

The campaign, launched by campaign organisers, doesn’t just plan raise awareness for same-sex couples, but also acceptance of disabled people (with one poster portraying a boy with Downs Syndrome), the elderly, and pregnant passengers are also featured on the posters.

“The metro is a public space and a service used by 2.5 million people. As such, the passengers are very diverse, with different needs and different origins. To travel [by metro] is to share a space, to share a moment together, and this is only possible if we respect one another, valuing our differences. We want a better metro, to be better people, a better city.”

Ramon Canas, Santiago Metro general manager

Canas went on to note that Metro Universidad Catolica would be dedicated to murdered gay 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio. Zamudio was attacked and killed  just blocks from the station in 2012.

Chile’s Social Development Minister, Maria Fernanda Villegas, was also in attendance and took to the podium to say she hoped the campaign was a step forward in Chile’s aim to reach developed nation status. She said she hoped the posters would spark positive debate and a dialogue among the public.

“Macroeconomic statistics are good indicators [of development], but they are not the most significant for the people. With a campaign like this, we are advancing and getting at the heart of what it actually means to build a developed country.”

Maria Fernanda Villegas, Chile’s Social Development Minister