SANTIAGO – President Michelle Bachelet promised Friday to promote a debate in Chile aimed at reaching an agreement on legalizing same-sex marriage in the South American country.
“We as the government commit ourselves to promote a public, participative and open discussion that allows the country to formulate a satisfactory bill for same-sex marriage, and which acknowledges the same rights for all people,” Bachelet said during a public act.
The purpose of the act for the Chilean government was to reach an amicable solution with the Gay Liberation and Integracion Movement (Movilh), the chief organization for sexual minorities in the country, held before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
That came after Movilh sued the government before this authority over Chile’s legal impediment against marriage for same-sex couples.
In that context, the Chilean president called on the government and civil society to deal with “the next goal, which is equality of marriage,” noting that a “significant” consensus exists in Chile to achieve that goal.
She also noted the progress made in matters of discrimination by the Civil Union Accord (AUC), passed by her government to regulate the cohabitation rights and duties of couples who live together without getting married, including those of the same sex.
She also announced that a bill will soon be sent to Congress to perfect the so-called “Zamudio Law” against discrimination, which was passed following the brutal homophobic attack on a youth several years ago.
The new bill, Bachelet said, seeks to “promote equality while sanctioning discrimination and the inciting of hatred against a person or group of persons based on their social origin, belief, nationality, sex, sexual orientation or ethnicity.”
Gay community leaders said the president’s announcement is historic, but warned it will be useless if it doesn’t include the right of parenthood and adoption by same-sex couples.
The announcement “is a relative landmark...It no longer depends on the government in power, but becomes a commitment of the state,” said the historic Movilh leader Rolando Jimenez.
He added that the agreement reached before the IACHR includes the modification of the adoption law, the law of gender identity and public policies on health and education.