Proposed Chilean Law Threatens Religious Freedom

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  SANTIAGO, September 4, 2007 (—The Chilean Senate will vote today on a proposed law to extend "non-discrimination" protection to homosexuals, which opponents warn would destroy the legal right to oppose homosexual behavior.

  The bill, which is called the Law to Establish Measures against Discrimination, has been working its way through the Chilean congress since 2006, and is strongly supported by Chile’s socialist president, Michelle Bachelet.  It defines "discrimination" as "any distinction, exclusion or restriction based on…sexual orientation".  It also lists numerous other protected categories, including "sex, gender" as two distinct types, implying privileges also for "transgender people" who believe they are really the opposite sex.

  The Chilean youth organization Muevete Chile! (Go Chile!) is urging citizens to contact their Senators to oppose the measure, offering a pre-written email that can be sent after adding one’s name and email address (

  Go Chile! warns that if the bill is passed, Chileans will no longer be able to oppose homosexual sexual acts, stating that the bill "approves sexual deviations, punishing whomever dares to speak against such tendencies with both economic and criminal penalties."

  The measure is also opposed by the Chilean pro-family group Family Action, which has sent letters to all Senators asking them to reject it. "If you want Chile to have freedom of expression for the Christians who are opposed to this conduct, within the proper limits of respect for persons, vote against the bill," they urged.

  Although the bill could have far-reaching effects on Chilean society and is unlikely to have the support of the strongly conservative Chilean population, the major media have hardly mentioned the bill’s impending vote.  However, homosexual websites in Chile have given it extensive coverage.

"This bill hasn’t been promoted by the citizenry, but rather by the gay lobby, and so much so that it calls attention to the fact that the bill doesn’t penalize, for example, arbitrary discrimination such as that which is practiced against the unborn" states Go Chile!.

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