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Two Gay Couples Granted Marriage Licenses in Colombia

Zea

Despite the July ruling by a judge in Bogota in support of marriage equality, doubts continue to linger about whether same-sex couples can indeed get married in Colombia. The confusion stems from a 2011 ruling from Colombia's Constitutional Court that declared the nation's Congress must act by June 20, 2013 to provide same-sex couples with the same rights before the law as heterosexual couples. After that date came and went without any substantive action by the Congress, it was up to court officials, mainly judges and notaries, to decide how they would implement the court's order.

Things appear to be moving again, as two gay coupless have been granted marriage licenses, Andrés Duque at Blabbeando reports:

In a surprising statement released on Wednesday, Colombian attorney and long-time LGBT-rights advocate Germán Humerto Rincón Perfetti announced that a .civil court judge had declared Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbón and William Alberto Castro Franco "united in civil matrimony" in a ceremony that took place on September 20th.

Then today the leading national newspaper El Espectador announced in its front page that Elizabeth Castillo and Claudia Zea (above) had joined them on Wednesday when a second civil court judge also granted them a marriage license. "I join you in a legitimate civil matrimony with all the prerogatives and rights that civil law grants you and the same obligations imposed by civil law," said the judge before the couple signed their marriage license.

Adds Duque:

Yesterday the Inspector General's office announced that it would fight to stop these marriages using a fast track appeal legal form called a "tutela".

Lawyer Mauricio Albarracín argues that for a "tutela" to proceed the applicant has to prove these marriages violate a person's rights which Albarracín says will be impossible for Ordoñez to prove.

The issue will probably head back to the upper courts in the future but as of this week Julio Albeiro Cantor Borbon is married to William Alberto Castro Franco and Claudia Zea is married to Elizabeth Castillo.


Gay Marriage Faces Uncertain Future In Colombia

6a00d8341c730253ef0191043145f3970c-piDespite the recent ruling by a judge in Bogota in support of marriage equality, doubts continue to linger about whether same-sex couples can indeed get married in Colombia. The confusion stems from a 2011 ruling from Colombia's Constitutional Court that declared the nation's Congress must act by June 20, 2013 to provide same-sex couples with the same rights before the law as heterosexual couples. After that date came and went without any substantive action by the Congress, it was up to court officials, mainly judges and notaries, to decide how they would implement the court's order. However, there has been some uncertainty as to whether the high court's ruling necessarily mandated that marriage equality become the law of the land. Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez, "who oversees how public officials do their jobs" in Colombia, recently petitioned the Constitutional Court for a clarification on its 2011 ruling, BuzzFeed reports:

"On Friday, the court rejected Ordoñez’s petition for it to clarify that it did not intend to open marriage to same-sex couples. And Constitutional Court President Jorge Iván Palacio sternly warned Ordoñez to “observe the determinations of this Court and monitor their strict and timely compliance.”

Palacio also called Ordoñez out for disparaging the court’s authority, “inviting” him to “maintain decorum” when addressing the court in the future.

Palacio’s statement was more concerned with ensuring the independence of the judiciary than with the question of same-sex marriage. Though it shut down Ordoñez, it also did not clarify that it intended for couples to have the right to marry. The high court seems to want the issue to percolate more among lower judges and notaries, though it is widely expected to have to revisit the issue."

Though doubts remain, marriage equality activists in Colombia view the Court's rejection of Ordoñez’s petition as a victory:

“A free path for #marriage equality,” tweeted human rights lawyer Viviana Bohórquez, which was retweeted by Marcela Sánchez, the executive director of Colombia’s leading LGBT rights organization, Colombia Diversa."


Colombian Judge Says Gay Couple Can Marry; Sets July 24 Ceremony

ColombiaMarriage equality has come to Colombia it appears, in a five-page ruling by Carmen Lucía Rodríguez Díaz, a civil judge in Bogotá, who was petitioned by a gay couple to recognize their relationship under the law. The couple, named Diego and Juan, are expected to marry in a civil ceremony on July 24.

In 2011, the Colombia Constitutional Court ruled that the nation's congress had to provide full legal recognition of same-sex couples by June 20, 2013.

However, the Congress rejected gay marriage legislation in April. Since, the June 20 deadline has passed without any legislation prescribing to how proceed, Colombian gay couples have been confused about how to go about securing legal recognition of their relationships.

(via Blabbeando)


Colombian Gay Couples Unsure About Legal Rights After Court's June 20 Deadline

In 2011, the Colombia Constitutional Court ruled that the nation's congress had to provide full legal recognition of same-sex couples by June 20, 2013.

However, the Congress rejected gay marriage legislation in April. And now that the June 20 deadline has passed without any legislation prescribing to how proceed, Colombian gay couples are confused about how to go about securing legal recognition of their relationships.

The Washington Blade reports:

ColumbiaIt remains unclear whether gays and lesbians can actually tie the knot in Colombia because the court’s ruling did not contain the word “marriage.” The judges instead said same-sex couples could go before a notary or a judge to “formalize and solemnize their contractual link.”

The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo on Thursday reported that Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre Lynett said notaries and judges are free to interpret the court’s decision because there is no law that specifically addresses the issue of relationship recognition. Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez Maldonado and other Colombian officials have said the 2011 ruling did not extend the possibility of marriage rights to same-sex couples.

Some notaries had said before the June 20 deadline that they would not marry same-sex couples, but rather allow them to enter into a “solemn contract” that is similar to an agreement into which two people enter when they buy a house together.

The article goes on to quote Colombian LGBT advocate Wilson Castañeda Castro as rejecting "solemn contracts" and demanding nothing less than marriage from judges and notaries.


Colombia's Gay Marriage Deadline Looms, Doubts Linger

Despite the recent failure of a bill in Colombia's senate that would have legalized same-sex marriage, gay couples in Colombia may soon be able to wed.

In 2011, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that the nation's Congress must pass "comprehensive, systematic, and orderly legislation" by June 20, 2013 to correct the imbalance between rights afforded to heterosexual and homosexual couples. However, with the deadline only days away and no new legislation in place, it is uncertain how court officials will interpret the high court's ruling, The Washington Blade reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef017d431b785d970c-800wi"Marcela Sánchez Buitrago, executive director of Colombia Diversa, an LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Monday that some notaries have already said they will not marry same-sex couples after the court’s deadline passes. They would instead allow them to enter into a 'solemn contract' that is similar to an agreement between two people who buy a house together.

'This in the view of Colombia Diversa does not comply with the Constitutional Court’s order,' Sánchez said.

Colombia Diversa and other LGBT advocacy groups are advising couples who encounter a notary or a judge who refuses to allow them to register their relationships–or enter into a civil marriage as Sánchez and other activists have described it–to petition a court to reverse the decision. Lina Cuéllar, director of Sentiido, an LGBT website she co-publishes in Bogotá, the country’s capital, told the Blade she expects some notaries and judges will accommodate gays and lesbians in the same way they treat heterosexual couples."

The Blade notes that Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' administration has remained silent on this issue, casting further doubt as to what the government's official response to the Constitutional Court's order will be come June 20. Should notaries and judges allow same-sex couples to marry, Colombia would join Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in being the only South American countries to have legalized same-sex marriage.


Colombian Senate Rejects Marriage Equality Bill 51-17

The Colombian Senate voted down a marriage equality bill yesterday, Reuters reports:

ColombiaThe bill was rejected by 51 out of 102 lawmakers in the Senate - with 17 in favor. The negative vote was widely expected, given that lawmakers from the ruling coalition had made an alliance to oppose the initiative.

Several hundred people rallied in Bogota's main colonial square as lawmakers debated the proposal to allow people of the same sex to marry. Colombians for and against the bill faced off in the Plaza Bolivar, with some critics of same-sex marriage waving banners that read: "1 man + 1 woman = marriage."

Colombia's Supreme Court issued a ruling in 2011 that requires the Congress to act on marriage equality by June 20, 2013, or else gay couples can apply for civil unions from notaries.


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