Chile votes for gay civil unions


An LGBT parade in Chile’s capital city, Santiago

A bill to legalise same-sex civil unions has been approved by the lower house of Chile’s National Congress.

According to La Tercera, the bill was passed by deputies in an 86-in-favour and 23-against vote, with two abstentions.

The legislation now goes back to the Senate for approval, which could take place by the end of the month.

The proposed law will allow both heterosexual and same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, giving them many of the same rights and protections as married couples.

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet has indicated she will sign the civil union bill into law if it is approved by the National Congress.

Rolando Jimenez, from the LGBT rights group Movilh, told the newspaper that the passage of the bill was dedicated “to gay and lesbian families that have suffered the historical burden of misunderstanding and prejudice.”

“Not long ago were considered to be sick by science and as criminals by our state, while religions still see us as unnatural. Despite this, these families have never ceased to feel love. On the contrary, they have been strengthened by love. Today it is the turn of the State to strengthen them and protect them as equals,” he said.

Activists have, however, also expressed reservations that the bill could delay full marriage equality in the country.

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