Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera

Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, has introduced legislation that would give legal recognition to same-sex couples in the predominantly Catholic country.

“All forms of marriage deserve respect, dignity and the support of the state,” said Pinera, adding that the bill “puts opposite-sex and same-sex couples on the same footing, because in both cases it is possible to develop love, affection and respect”.

He has already signed the legislation and passed into on to parliament for approval.

The proposed law, while giving same-sex couples many of the benefits of marriage, does not grant gays and lesbians the right to marry in the traditional sense.

“I deeply believe that marriage is by nature between a man and a woman, but that conviction does not prevent me from recognising that other forms of affective relationships exist,” said Pinera.

Homosexuality was legalised in Chile in 1998. Countries in South America to recognise same-sex relationships in some form include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay.

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