Colombia joins Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in instituting marriage equality for same-sex couples. In Mexico, gay marriage is legal in the capital and a handful of states. Colombia’s ruling will grant gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.
A legal challenge to the ruling, which would have prevented public notaries from registering same-sex unions as marriages, was rejected earlier this month in a 6-3 decision.
A 2011 constitutional court ruling in Colombia recognised same-sex couples as families and ordered the government to pass legislation that would extend the same rights to gay couples as to heterosexual married couples.
If lawmakers failed to pass a law by June 2013, by default gay couples could “formalise” their unions before notaries and judges, reports The Guardian. The court had already ruled in 2015 that gay couples could adopt children but a senator, Viviane Morales, proposed a referendum that would allow Colombians to vote on whether or not the decision would become law.
Yesterday’s ruling definitively establishes that such marriage equality is guaranteed by the Colombian constitution, giving gay couples the legal right to marry.
Colombia becomes the most recent country to legalise same-sex marriage, after Ireland’s successful marriage referendum in May, 2015. The first country to legalise same-sex marriage was the Netherlands in 2001.
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