SANTIAGO, Chile, November 8, 2011 ( – Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal has rejected an effort seeking to force the country to recognize the “marriages” of three same-sex couples.

The court, which is the nation’s highest authority on constitutional matters, voted 9-1 on Nov. 3rd against the suit challenging the constitutionality of Chile’s Civil Code, which recognizes marriage as the union of “a man and a woman.”

The three homosexual couples, who were aided by Chile’s Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (MOVILH), sought to register themselves as “married” in September 2010, but were refused.  Two of the couples had already contracted “marriages” in Canada and Argentina respectively.

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The justices ruled that the definition of marriage falls under the jurisdiction of parliament, not the court.

It is up to the legislature to regulate “civil union between two persons, independently of their sexual orientation, including opening the institution of matrimony to persons of the same sex, should it be deemed convenient,” they wrote, according to IOL News.

Though hailed as a social conservative, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera introduced a legislative proposal to create homosexual civil unions in August after pressure by the country’s homosexual lobby.  The same month, about 15,000 pro-family Chileans marched on the capital to defend the true definition of marriage.

The very fact that the court agreed to hear the case had been hailed by MOVILH as “historic.”