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.


  1. topher says

    I can’t help but have the lowest part of me become utterly petty and jealous when I watch stuff like this. I came out 11 years ago and to this day me parents don’t want to hear anything about it. They say they love me, we share dinners and whatnot from time to time, but I am not accepted fully. I love them unconditionally, but boy it’s hard to keep a relationship alive when the other behave like such assholes.

  2. Jere says

    It’s interesting that there is opposition to something that their Supreme Court has basically ordered to be done. What is the power of the Court if another branch of government can refuse to comply with a ruling. While we have that in the US, it’s almost entirely state governments that try to get around Supreme Court decisions, not other branches of the Federal government.

  3. jamal49 says

    Quisiera que yo tuviera una madre tan noble y feroz, defensora de mis derechos ante el prejuicio de la gente intolerante. Que mujer maravillosa!

  4. disgusted american says

    Posted by: topher | Apr 23, 2013 2:41:04 PM

    WHY do you put up with them? I cant relate – my parents were VERY accepting of myself and my gay sister and Our partners, they were treated as Family….just like all our in-laws… you put up with them – because you need them financially> ..cause’ the end – they’ll NEED YOU more then you’ll need them….thats always good to REMIND them of that…..Old age isn’t kind to miserable people.

  5. topher says

    I “put up with them” cause I love them. At least my mom, and I see how much she struggles and suffers. At this point there is nothing I haven’t tried, and won’t push it any further because it only tears her apart. So I pay them visits, help them around the house, we have lunch and that’s it. It’s FAR from ideal. But it’s my parents and I love them and even though they can’t accept me being gay, I have come to accept their limits (make no mistake, this has caused me a LOT of sorrows). But to me, I don’t know, I suppose I love them the way moms love their less than ideal sons and daughters. Even if the son is a drug addit, alcoholic robber, the mother is still gonna be there, bailing him out, making sure they have food to eat, being patient, and just hoping things will get better. Why? Because you love them. And no, I don’t need them financially. I need parents, who doesn’t, and I need someone to mother me the way my own mom is unable to. But I didn’t get that, and got this instead. And it’s ok. It’s not perfect, but it’s ok.

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