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Chile sued for prohibiting gay marriage

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – Chilean gay rights group Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH) is suing the state of Chile for prohibiting same-sex marriage.

According to The Santiago Times, MOVILH presented the lawsuit to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, claiming that the South American country flouted several parts of the American Convention on Human Rights, of which it is a signatory. 

“The best case scenario for us is that the commission obliges the state to allow same-sex marriage. In the worst case scenario, it would begin to pressure the state into legalizing it, which is also a good scenario for us," MOVILH general secretary Alberto Roa told the Times. He calls the suit "unprecedented." It comes in the wake of a 2011 Supreme Court decision that disallows three gay couples to marry, upholding decisions of the Court of Appeals and the Civil Registry. The news report notes that two of the couples got married abroad but were denied that status when they returned to Chile.

“Argentina has approved all laws on the matter, such as same-sex marriage and adoption,” Roa told the Times. “Countries like Columbia have also progressed, while Chile is behind along with Peru and Bolivia. Chile has not made this step due to the influence of the church.”

But the Times report points to a Radio Cooperativa study indicating that a little less than 55 percent of Chileans support same-sex marriage. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera also sent a proposal on civil unions to Congress, but it has not been put to a vote and talks about it have stalled.

Roa told the Times that this move was significant as it "prompted people on the left to support gay marriage itself, due to the fact that a right-wing president sent such a liberal proposal for a bill."


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