Latest News 2017 October Chile Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Chile Introduces Same-Sex Marriage Bill

For the last two months, our blog has taken a look at LGBT rights issues both at home and abroad, with the general understanding that things were not necessarily improving worldwide. In many countries, same-sex marriages go unrecognized by the government, and still others treat homosexuality like a crime. We can never take our progress for granted—it's all too easy for legal protections to become undone, even in the U.S.

However, not all news is bad.

In July, Malta legalized same-sex marriage and Britain's highest court granted pension rights to same-sex couples. And in August, Chile's President Michelle Bachelet introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill, in addition to formally recognizing marriage rights, would allow same-sex couples to adopt.

President Bachelet's term ends in March 2018, so it's conceivable that Chile's Congress will wait to act on the bill until she's out of office. The Washington Post reports that it is not likely for Congress to pass the bill, as Chile has historically legislated according to conservative social values. Bachelet's proposed law would be the latest in a new trend in Chile's political life—in 2015, Chile approved civil unions for same-sex couples and only decriminalized gay sex in 1999.

If Congress approves the law, Chile would join Argentina, Colombia*, and Uruguay as the only South American nations to allow gay marriage. While Chilean gay rights activists understand that the law is unlikely to be approved, they see the bill proposal as a massive step in the journey toward full legal and social acceptance—a significant shift in a once-socially conservative country.

While the work of gay rights activists is far from complete worldwide, it's important to recognize where and when progress occurs.

*Columbia's Supreme Court has ruled on gay marriage, but no laws have been passed to formally recognize it.

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