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Chile approves gay unions: president pushes for gay ‘marriage’

The new law grants same-sex couples almost all of the rights of marriage, but the president is pushing for more.
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By Diogo Ximenes

By Diogo Ximenes

SANTIAGO, Chile, April 21, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- With the welcome of the gay lobby, the president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, promulgated a law April 13 that recognizes same-sex unions, to take effect in October. However, she warned that it was merely a first step.

Just two days later, Bachelet took ‘one more step’ when she created a Ministerial Bureau for the purpose of bringing about so-called “marriage equality” in the country.

The act that created the Civil Union Agreement (AUC) gives legal recognition to homosexual couples who live together and equates them, in practice, to married couples. Almost all the rights that a marriage has before the law are also attributed to cohabiting homosexual couples. Only a few were left out, such as the possibility of adoption. The initiative was approved in Congress in January of this year and will come into force next October.

"Friends ... we tell you that this is a concrete step forward on the path to complete equality between homosexual and heterosexual couples," said Bachelet in her speech at the La Moneda Palace during the ceremony in which the law was signed.

The commitment of the government to approve the initiative was widely welcomed by the gay lobby. Rolando Jimenez, director of the Office of Human Rights of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) referred to the AUC as “a very good law in which, for the first time, the Chilean State recognizes that there is more than one type of family.”

However, homosexual groups want more. Luis Larrain, president of the organization Equal (Iguales), has expressed his satisfaction at the way in which the Bachelet government has pushed through the AUC, but has also stressed that it is not enough. "Civil union is part of an ambitious agenda, we are just in the first year of government; we are going to continue to, for example, to regulate affiliation, which is not contained in this bill. We want equal marriage," he explained.

“Marriage equality” is a euphemism used by the LGBT movement to confer on the affective relationship between homosexuals the same status and rights as the conjugal bond between a man and a woman. It implies, as acknowledged by the lawyer of the Movilh, Ciro Colombora, a redefinition of the concepts of marriage and family.

In the opinion of Rolando Jimenez, current marriage law in Chile is "homophobic and discriminatory" because it provides only for the union of a man and a woman, and although the recognition of 'civil unions' is a great step, it does not offer full equality.

President Bachelet appears to have 'taken note’ of such claims with unusual speed. Barely two days after she stamped her signature on the civil union act, and without waiting to allow it to go into effect, she ordered the creation of an inter-ministerial Bureau with the objective of addressing  mechanisms for the advancement of “marriage equality” and other public policies to eradicate the “discrimination of sexual diversity.”

The agency created April 15 comprises representatives of the General Secretariat of the Presidency, of the General Secretariat of Government, and the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Health and Education. Shortly, the ministries of Women and Social Development will be included as well. All non-governmental members are leaders and lawyers of Movilh. The creation of such a body is unprecedented in the country's democratic history. Six ministries and an NGO that definitely will set the tone.

The government argues that this configuration is justified by the nature of the body. Hernán Quezada, director of Human Rights at the Chilean Foreign Ministry, says that this is a “space” to engage in dialogue in order to find a “friendly” output to a suit that Movilh filed with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIH) against the Chilean State during the government of Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014).  It was reviewed on May 15, 2012 after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by three homosexual couples whom the Civil Registry refused to “marry,” citing that such a possibility did not exist in current legislation on April 4 of that year.

With the election to the presidency of socialist Michelle Bachelet, Movilh, supported by other LGBT organizations, decided to keep the suit alive, offering the Executive a legal reason to keep this issue in the forefront together with a wide range of other issues.

"For the first time we saw six ministries gathered to discuss and define in a multilateral way mechanisms to advance the cause of equal rights for sexual diversity. It was a meeting of great importance that we hope will culminate in an agreement between the State and our organization," Jimenez said, after attending the meeting where the new ministerial Bureau was instituted.

Other groups similar to Movilh maintain that in addition to “equal marriage,” their aim is to achieve - among other things - the creation of a “gender identity” law; the modification of current 'anti-discrimination law', in order to classify 'homophobia' as a crime; and the reform of the education system in order to integrate gender perspective into the education of children.

The Chilean gay lobby now has an expeditious mechanism to promote what was defined by Luis Larrain as an "ambitious agenda", and has no doubt of the full cooperation of the Executive. Is this evidence of the existence of a prior agreement?

In August 2013, even as a presidential candidate, Bachelet stated: "I am in favor of equal marriage."  On the occasion of a speech addressed to LGBT organizations, she indicated that a law that would institute it “although imperative, would not be enough," because in her opinion, the State should ensure equal treatment in all areas, promoting "actively since childhood" a culture that recognizes and accepts gender differences as a natural part of society.

Translated by Mei-Li Garcia from LifeSiteNews' Latin American news agency, Notifam.com.


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