Chile passes same-sex marriage bill

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Chile is expected to become the 31st country to legalise same-sex marriage after lawmakers overwhelmingly voted for marriage equality.

On Tuesday, members of Chile’s Congress passed a bill to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 82 in favour, 20 against and 2 abstentions. The bill was previously approved by the Senate.

According to Human Rights Watch, the legislation will end legal discrimination against same-sex couples in parentage, joint adoption, and assisted reproductive technology. It also removes the requirement that married transgender people divorce if they want to have their gender legally recognised.

Same-sex couples in Chile have had the option to have their relationships recognised as civil unions since 2015.

President Sebastian Piñera is expected to sign the bill into law, having earlier expressed his support for marriage quality.

In June he said: “I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country. In this way, all people without distinguishing by sexual orientation, will be able to live love and form a family with all the protection and dignity that they need and deserve.”

Cristian González Cabrera, LGBT Rights Program Researcher at Human Right Watch, said that, “This recognition of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Chileans is the product of years of sustained advocacy by Chilean activists.”

The organisation noted that the development brings the country into line with a 2017 opinion by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights asserting that all rights applicable to family relationships of heterosexual couples should be extended to same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage is legal in several other countries in the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay and in many states in Mexico.

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