Colombia’s Senate Considering Marriage Equality Bill Today

Colombia's Senate is considering a marriage equality bill today. They were set to vote on the bill last week but it was postponed until today after hours of debate.

ColombiaAndrés Duque has a good post about the current situation there.

A Towleroad reader in Colombia writes me that chances are very slim for the bill today. It must pass with at least 51 votes and neither side has enough.  His prediction is that the bill will die because of a deficit of votes on either side and the law will be in a sort of limbo because the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress must legislate on the issue before June. Which may mean another court battle…

Last week the Colombia Law and Business post wrote:

Why Is This Debate Happening Now?

The Colombian Consitutional Court issued a ruling in 2001 (Sentencia C577/11) that requires the Congress to act by June 20, 2013, or else same-sex couples can present themselves to legal notaries to contract for their legal rights. The Court ruled that same-sex couples have equal legal rights to found a family, but there is a “deficit of legal protection” for such couples under current law, and ordered the Congress to eliminate that deficit by June 20, 2013. The Court previously ruled that the right given to heterosexual couples to a legally recognized non-marital union must be accorded to same-sex couples.

Some people claim that the Colombian Constitution and Civil Code refer to marriage as between a man and a woman, but this doesn’t make the point they think. Both were adopted when there was no consideration of same-sex marriage, and therefore it cannot be said that same-sex marriage was intended to be prohibited. Furthermore, neither provision says “only” a man and a woman can contract marriage.

More importantly, Art. 13 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law. (This is also a human right guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights, which is binding on Colombia. See more about this below.) To allow marriage equality is to reconcile the marriage and equality clauses; to prohibit same-sex marriage is to ignore the equality clause altogether and to invent an intention for the family clause that never existed.

Those wishing to follow the news on Twitter can follow the hashtag #MatrimonioIgualitarioYA.

Also, check out this powerful video from last week's debate.

Andrés Duque, who translated the clip, writes, "It's a psychologist named Martha Lucía Cuéllar who spoke in favor or marriage equality when debate started last Thursday. She speaks movingly about her gay son and the death of his partner and puts every single Senator on notice in case they vote against the marriage equality bill."

Turn on annotations for translation.