Chile allows same sex marriage ahead of election

December 9, 2021

chile allows same sex marriage ahead of presidential election

The National Congress in Chile has accomplished something historic on Tuesday. The South American nation is joining the list of thirty countries around the world where same-sex marriage is legal.

The legal battle over the issue lasted close to a decade. However, in recent years, a consensus has formed around the topic in the conservative country where religion still plays a very important role.

This development comes less than two weeks before the December 19 presidential election.

The second round opposes Republican José Antonio Kast to progressive Gabriel Boric.

Current President Sebastián Piñera , who is a right-wing billionaire, has voiced support for the bill. The law will go into effect 90 days after he signs it.

In 2017, then-President Michelle Bachelet, a socialist, started the push to legalize same-sex marriage. The issue never got any real momentum in Congress.

However, this week, the bill received 82 votes in the Chamber of Deputies versus 20. There were two abstentions, and the Senate had already backed the measure.

Politicians in the country are just following the will of their people. A 2020 poll on the matter showed 74 percent in favor of same-sex marriage. In the same survey, 61% of people supported adoption rights.

In June, President Piñera made his position on the issue crystal clear. He said back then; it was time for Chile to offer equal protection and rights to same-sex unions.

Mr. Piñera had stunned some of his conservative allies when he made the announcement during a State of the Union address.

In 2015, same-sex civil unions became legal in Chile.

Many Chileans took to the streets to celebrate the landmark bill

For a lot of people in the country, the bill going through Congress is a cause for celebration.

For proponents of the legislation, it is about more than same-sex marriage.

Many children will now be able to get official recognition for their same-sex parents. For others, it is a sign of a country moving forward and choosing progress.

Support for same-sex had become such a fait accompli in the country that even Kast, a devoted Catholic, who is personally against same-sex marriage, claimed that he would have signed the bill if he was president.

The country is moving to the left on social and cultural matters at a fast pace. Some progressives are even surprised that this day is a reality after years of struggle. However, like in many other places, Chile might be moving right on the economy.

The opposition to the issue was mostly muted. Evangelical lawmaker Leonidas Romero called the bill a “betrayal” of Christian values.

His position is now in a small minority.

Gay marriage is gaining ground everywhere

Chile is an excellent example to illustrate where things are headed on this specific issue. In under seven years, conservative candidates have shown a willingness to drop their previous ambiguities on marriage equality.

Eight Latin American countries have now said yes to gay marriage. Chile joins the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and parts of Mexico.

Other countries will soon make it legal for two people of the same sex to marry and raise a family. Public opinion is moving rapidly on the issue around the globe.

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