May 3, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Constitutional Court of Colombia has ruled that the nation’s civil laws regarding marriage are applicable to homosexual couples, in a 6-3 vote held last Thursday.
Although the text of the decree will not be issued for weeks, the Colombian and Latin American media are reporting that the ruling requires notaries and judges to issue certificates of “marriage” to couples of the same sex. However, reports also indicate that exemptions for conscientious objectors are not addressed by the decree.
The ruling appears to expressly contradict the nation’s constitution, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman in article 42.
Although the court had already required judges to approve homosexual civil unions as a constitutional right in 2011, the nation’s congress had refused to enshrine the ruling in the country’s civil law. In 2013, the court issued a new decree formalizing the procedure in spite of the inaction of the congress, but notaries and judges had rejected it. It remains to be seen if the new ruling will be enforced by the same officials or if resistance will continue.
The new ruling, announced last Thursday, decrees that the existing institution of “marriage” is applicable to homosexual couples as well as heterosexual ones, doing away with the need for a formalized civil union procedure. The decision follows the court’s rejection earlier in April of a lawsuit that sought to condemn homosexual “marriage” as unconstitutional.
“Each person is free and autonomous in their decision to create a family . . . in accordance with their sexual orientation, receiving equal treatment and protection under the Constitution and the law,” the judges ruled, according to the court’s president, María Victoria Calle.
“The judges of the full session (of the Court) by a majority vote held that it does not violate current the constitutional order to marry couples of the same sex, analogically applying to the modern situation the institution of matrimony for opposite-sex couples contained in the civil law,” Calle told the national media.
The ruling comes in the wake of a 2015 decision allowing homosexuals to adopt children, which has provoked massive protests by Colombians.
If the ruling is implemented, Colombia will join several other Latin American nations in embracing homosexual “marriage,” including Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The Mexican Supreme Court is also in the process of seeking to impose such unions on state governments.