Chile legalises marriage and adoption for same-sex couples

The legislation was passed by an overwhelming majority and is expected to come into effect in early 2022.

There are four Chilean flags on the left, and on the right is a photo from a pride march in Chile, where same-sex marriage and adoption have just been legalised.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, December 7, lawmakers in Chile voted to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption in the country. The legislation was passed by 82 votes to 20, in a landmark moment for the nation which has previously been considered one of Latin America’s most conservative places.

Chile is now the 31st country in the world to allow same-sex marriage, and the seventh in South America to do so. It follows Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica, who have all made similar law changes since 2010. The nation legalised civil unions for same-sex couples in 2015, but they did not have the same legal protections, such as the right to adoption, as married partners had.

The Chilean bill states that marriage is a solemn contract uniting two people, instead of a man and a woman, “for all of their lives with the purpose of living together, procreating, and helping each other.” Following approval by lawmakers in the House of Deputies, and by the Senate, it has now been sent for ratification to President Sebastian Piñera, and will take effect in 90 days.

Despite being a member of the conservative, right-wing National Renewal Party, Piñera supported the bill and was hugely influential in its approval. In June, he stated, “I believe the moment has arrived for same-sex marriage in our country […] In this way, all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, can live with love and form a family with all of the protection that they need and deserve.”

The bill was originally introduced in 2017 by the left-wing government of former president Michelle Bachelet and has endured a long four-year battle before receiving approval.

Elsewhere, Tokyo has announced similar plans to allow same-sex partnerships from April 2022. Some regions in Japan’s capital already recognise same-sex marriage, and should their plans come to fruition, the city will become only the second region in Asia to legalise the practice.

Governor Yuriko Koike spoke on the matter, saying: “From the point of view of advancing understanding of sexual diversity, as well as reducing the problems faced by those involves, we will lay out basic principles for introducing a same-sex partnership system in the next fiscal year.” The local assemble voted unanimously in favour of the progression.

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