Chile set to become 31st country to legalize same-sex marriage

Both houses of Chile’s government voted overwhelmingly December 7 in favor of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Once signed by President Sebastián Piñera and published in the government’s official bulletin, the law will then take effect after 90 days, likely around March 2022. Chile will then become the 31st country in the world and the 6th country in South America with legal same-sex marriage, after Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, and Ecuador.

“With the approval of the #EqualMarriage,” Piñera posted on Twitter, “Chile will be a more tolerant country with greater respect for diversity. This makes us great and humanizes us as a society. Today we take a big step in dignity, respect and justice with thousands of couples and families, because #LoveIsLove.”

Karla Rubilar, Minister of Social Development, said following the vote “The moment of equal marriage for our country has arrived, and with that, thousands of families will have the equal rights that correspond to a secular state.”

The same-sex marriage bill was first introduced in Congress in 2017 by then-President Michelle Bachelet, who now serves as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“I celebrate #MarriageEquality in Chile,” Bachelet wrote on Twitter, “which ensures recognition & protection for all families, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s an important step for the country and I hope others will follow this example.

Along with Bachelet, many Chilean LGBTQ rights groups also celebrated the decision.

“I am tremendously moved. I am finding it difficult to keep my composure. It’s been a long race,” Isabel Amor of the Fundacion Iguales rights group told the AFP.

LGBTQ rights group MOVILH, which was founded in 1991, posted on Twitter: “After centuries of abuse the doors of justice, equality and dignity are open to same sex couples.”

The marriage vote comes less than two weeks before Chileans will vote for a new president, Jose Antonio Kast or Gabriel Boric. 

After the marriage vote, Boric posted “#Equal Marriage is the law. Despite the resistance of those who do not believe in freedom, it is reaffirmed that love is love. On this historic day I tell the diversities and dissidents that in our government they will be safe and will have full recognition of their rights.”Kast, who is running on a conservative, Catholic platform, does not support same-sex marriage. The Hill reported that he said following the vote “We respect democracy, but that doesn’t mean we change our convictions. For us, marriage is between a man and a woman.”