Gay couples in Chile now have the right to marry, with parliament in the South American country voting to legalize the union Friday. The move came after three weeks of campaigning by activists who believe ending a 54-year-old ban on gay marriage is the first step toward greater legal equality for gay couples in the country. Congress is still set to debate a referendum on Dec. 19 asking whether Chile should repeal a proposed law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “When [same-sex couples] die, their families leave these things up to us,” said Sen. Ildefonso Guajardo, a centrist member of the governing coalition who is leading the effort to repeal the discrimination law. “But most families accept gay couples and a quarter are gay themselves.”
LGBT activists say that the repeal would be a disaster for an already marginalised community. Some of Chile’s leading gay rights groups, such as Democratic Christian Solidarity and Alpha Queer and Guajardo’s Pacho group, have decided to organize a strike on the day the referendum is scheduled.
In 2010, Chile’s constitutional court ruled the legal restrictions on gay marriage unconstitutional, but the ban remained in place until the current legislation passed.
Read the full story at Reuters.
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