Chilean Congress approves bill to legalize same-sex marriage

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Chilean Congress on Tuesday approved a long-awaited bill to legalize same-sex marriage, joining a handful of Catholic-majority Latin American countries with similar laws.

The measure has the support of President Sebastian Pinera, who is due to enact it, and will also allow married homosexual couples to adopt children.

The bill received the green light from the upper house of Congress, or the Senate, on Tuesday, and was immediately approved by the lower house of deputies with 82 votes to 20.

There were two abstentions.

In Latin America, same-sex couples have so far only been able to marry in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina and in 14 of Mexico’s 32 states.

The country legalized same-sex civil unions in 2015, and has been eagerly awaiting legalization of same-sex marriage since then-President Michelle Bachelet sent a bill to Congress in 2017.

In a surprise move, his Tory successor Pinera announced in June that he would call for urgent passage of the bill – which has the support of a majority of Chileans – by Congress.

The project was systematically opposed by the most conservative right-wing bloc in power in Chile, but nonetheless obtained a majority “yes” vote at every step of the process in an opposition-dominated Congress.

The question deeply divides the two candidates for the second round of the presidential election on December 19.

Gabriel Boric, 35, who represents a left-wing alliance that includes the Communist Party, supported the bill and voted “yes” as a lawmaker.

But 55-year-old far-right candidate Jose Antonio Kast, who won 28% of the vote in the first round against 26% for Boric, campaigned against.

>> Hopes for Chile’s feminist future at stake as presidential elections loom

(AFP)

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