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Same-Sex Marriage Rights Bill Introduced In Chile

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Chilean lawmakers and a LGBT advocacy group, The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, introduced a bill on Saturday that will extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in Chile reports the Washington BladeThe proposal that was introduced with the help of Congressman Gabriel Silber Romo of the Christian Democratic Party would change the wording of "a man and a woman," to "two people," in Chile’s marriage law. The proposal will also change "husband and wife," to "spouse," and amend the concept of procreation to "raise children." The Liberation advocacy group is hoping to eliminate discrimination and establish equality with the bill.

Said Liberation:

"With this bill we are looking to eradicate the historic discrimination that affects people simply for loving and living with someone of the same sex. Respect for family diversity is at the heart of this bill that we celebrate with backing throughout the political world and also with the broad support of citizen organizations."

The bill comes after the Chilean Senate voted in favor of legalizing same sex unions in October throughout the country, but members of the Chilean House of Deputies have yet to vote on the proposal.

The origin of the gay marriage bill began in 2012 when the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of lesbian Judge Karen Atala who lost custody of her three daughters to her ex-husband seven years earlier because of her sexual orientation. The Chilean government apologized to Atala, paid her $70,000 and provided medical and psychological care. The Liberation group then filed a lawsuit with the Court of Human Rights on behalf of three gay couples seeking marriage rights, although then-President Sebastián Piñera's government argued against the redefinition of marriage in a brief filed with the lawsuit in November 2013. 

However, current President Michelle Bachelet publicly supports the new bill, and members of the Liberation group and representatives of Bachelet's Cabinet discussed the marriage lawsuit in a meeting held in Santiago on Nov. 25. However, the outcome of the meeting, and what was discussed within it, have not been disclosed in full to the public. Rolando Jiménez, President of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, discussed Liberation's collaboration with members of Bachelet's Cabinet.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 1.28.11 PMSaid Jiménez:

"We want to contribute significantly to the government’s interest in amplifying the debate about these issues and thus advance the approval of this norm. The marriage equality law is part of a presidential agenda for the first time, and it therefore provides the best conditions for the advancement of equality. The current marriage law is homophobic because it excludes people based on their sexual orientation. Today we are moving forward toward the end of this unjust reality."


Chilean Senate Votes In Support of LGBT Civil Unions

ChileAfter hours of heated debate the Chilean Senate voted in favor of legalizing same sex unions throughout the entire country. Though the approved bill does not, technically, make same-sex marriage possible, provisions within the law seek to put gay unions at parity with their heterosexual counterparts. Two previous versions of the bill were blocked by AVP, a conservative organization working to limit cohabitation benefits like inheritance and power of attorney, for both gay and straight couples.

“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Sen. José Ossandón, who opposed the bill “I recognize that homosexuals have rights…I recognize that is not the AVP.”

Michelle_BacheletMoving forward the bill will be presented to the Chilean House of Deputies where it will be further reviewed, put up for approval, and passed along to Chile’s recently elected President Michelle Bachelet. In the past Bachelet has been vocal about her support of marriage equality and an expansion of rights for Chile’s trans community. Many Chileans, however, feel that she is not doing enough to improve upon her predecessor’s relationship to Chile’s queer population

In 2012 Chile’s former president Sebastián Piñera introduced an updated version of Chile’s anti-hate crimes law in response to the murder of Daniel Samudio, a 24-year old gay man. He was also responsible for introducing a much earlier version of the LGBT civil union law in 2011. Though Piñera was partially supporting of LGBT citizens, his government also made headlines for arguing against a re-definition of marriage that would have allowed for same sex couples to wed.


Chilean Clothing Company Pulls Ad Featuring Same-Sex Kissing, Gay Activists Create Parody: VIDEO

Kiss

As the BBC reports, Chilean clothing company la Polar recently unveiled a new ad that featured same-sex couples kissing. However, two days later, the company pulled the ad without explanation and replaced it with a 'toned down' version that showed same-sex couples being less affectionate. That move in turn upset many gay activists in the country who decided to create a parody of the original ad that aimed to be "the gayest commercial ever."

Watch a report on both videos, AFTER THE JUMP...

March

Continue reading "Chilean Clothing Company Pulls Ad Featuring Same-Sex Kissing, Gay Activists Create Parody: VIDEO" »


Navy Officer Becomes First Member of Chilean Military to Come Out as Gay: VIDEO

Ruiz

At a televised news conference yesterday, Navy officer Mauricio Ruiz, 24, became the first member of the Chilean military to come out as gay.

Equally as groundbreaking was the fact that Ruiz' announcement came with the full backing of the Chilean armed forces.  

BBC reports:

Ruiz2"We can do anything, be marines or in any branch (of the military). We can do whatever profession, and we deserve as much respect as anyone else," he told reporters in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

"In life there's nothing better than to be yourself, to be authentic, to look at people in the eye and for those people to know who you are."

Rolando Jimenez, president of Chile's Movement for Integration and Homosexual Liberation, expressed his gratitude to the Chilean Navy.

"(The Navy is) telling the country and the members of the institution particularly that it is possible for gays and lesbians to be part of the armed forces and that they aren't going to suffer discrimination because of their sexual orientation within these institutions," Mr Jimenez said.

Watch a Spanish-language report on Ruiz' announcement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Chile remains a highly conservative, Catholic country - where even divorce wasn't allowed until 2004. And despite a 2012 law aimed at combating anti-gay discrimination and hate crimes, LGBT individuals continue to face prejudice and unequal treatment under the law. 

A law governing same-sex unions is currently being debated, with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet coming out in favor of marriage equality despite a majority of Chileans opposing the idea. 

Continue reading "Navy Officer Becomes First Member of Chilean Military to Come Out as Gay: VIDEO" »


Malfunctioning Elevator In Chile Rises Thirty Floors In Fifteen Seconds, Injures Passenger: VIDEO

ElevatorPeril

A Chilean man riding an out-of-control elevator sustained leg and head injuries when the mechanics malfunctioned, according to news reports, causing it to rise thirty floors in fifteen seconds before crashing into the building's roof. The elevator, located in Bustamente Community Park in Providencia, Chile was reportedly installed only eight months ago.

Check out the terrifying surveillance footage (not for the elevator-phobic), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Malfunctioning Elevator In Chile Rises Thirty Floors In Fifteen Seconds, Injures Passenger: VIDEO" »


Gay Chilean Man Dies of Injuries Suffered in Homophobic Attack

Wladimir Sepulveda, a 21-year-old Chilean man, has died of injuries suffered in a brutal homophobic attack last October. He has been in a coma since, El Pais reports:

SepulvedaAccording to the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (Movilh) – the country’s largest gay collective – Sepúlveda was beaten by at least four suspects as he was walking home with a friend after swimming in a nearby river in San Francisco de Mostazal, south of the Chilean capital.

Both Sepúlveda’s family and Movilh have announced they will press charges against all the suspects under anti-gay discrimination legislation that was passed following the violent 2012 death of another homosexual, Daniel Zamudio, which shocked the country.

“This latest death just goes to show how much more we have to advance as a society,” said Álvaro Elizalde, a government spokesman, in a statement. “We hope that justice will be served, the facts of the case are cleared, and the corresponding punishment is determined.”

The Santiago Times adds that LGBT rights groups are outraged over the judicial process:

Campaign group and legal representatives of the victim’s family, the Movement for Integration and Homosexual Freedom (Movilh), criticized the judge presiding over the trial in a public statement on Sunday.

“Today, Wladimir lost his life while the only person to admit to the crime, Christopher Morales, is only on night-time house arrest as a result of the incomprehensible decision of Judge Pablo Aceituno,” reads the statement. “This judge is the same person who — at the beginning of proceedings and without knowing the details of the case — discounted the possibility that this was a homophobic attack. Furthermore, he suggested it was ‘logical and normal’ to attack someone based on their sexual orientation. In light of this unacceptable behavior, we are considering taking disciplinary action against the judge.”

Families and friends of Sepúlveda say they have received threats after charges were made.

Movilh President Rolando Jiménez said the Sepúlveda case highlighted flaws in the country’s first comprehensive anti-discrimination law — dubbed the “Zamudio law” in commemoration of the 24-year-old slain by self-proclaimed neo-nazis in 2012.

“One of the most important issues is to invert the burden of proof. It should be the brutal attackers — like those in the case of Wladimir — who must prove their actions were not based on prejudice rather than leaving it to the victim to prove the presence of homophobia,” Jiménez said in a press release. “In this instance, the law descends into absurdity. Wladimir has been in a vegetative state since the attack, how can he prove his version of events?”


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