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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.


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.


Colombian Senate to Vote on Marriage Equality Today

Will Colombia be next?

ColombiaThe Colombia Law and Business Post writes:

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.

More on this as it develops...


Popular Colombian Fashion Model Natalia Paris Claims Eating Chicken Turns Boys Gay: VIDEO

In 2010, Bolivian President Evo Morales caused laughter to ripple through the audience at a conference on climate change when he suggested that eating hormone-injected chicken caused men to deviate into homosexuality.

ParisNow, a popular Colombian fashion model, Natalia Paris, is making headlines for the same nonsense, according to Colombia Reports:

Paris, a well known figure in Colombia, drew her conclusions from reports claiming that chickens were being injected with female hormones designed to speed up growth, “which means that these seven, eight, nine and 10 year old children [who are eating chicken] are having their feminine hormones accelerated...and are starting to become homosexual,” said Paris.

President of National Federation for Colombian Poultry Farmers (FENAVI), Andrés Fernando Moncada, responded to the model’s controversial claims with indignation.

"When you hear this kind of a statement from a public figure like Natalia Paris, we must express our total outrage," said Fernando. He further added that there were no chickens in Colombia or anywhere in the world that are injected with hormones to accelerate growth, dismissing Paris' claims as "urban myths."

Video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Popular Colombian Fashion Model Natalia Paris Claims Eating Chicken Turns Boys Gay: VIDEO" »


Couple's Gay Nativity Scene Stirs Social Media Furor in Colombia

Gay_nativity

Andrés Vásquez and Felipe Cárdenas, a gay couple in Colombia, have reportedly stirred up a furor on social media after a photo of their nativity scene featuring two Josephs made its way on to the web, the NY Daily News reports:

Political analyst Vásquez and entrepreneur Felipe have been together for four years and were united by a civil union, the closest thing to marriage for homosexuals in Colombia, three months ago. The gay rights activists told the Diario Veloz website that they set up the scene, a picture of which was then posted on Facebook, in the hope that it would help in bringing about reform in the country's gay marriage laws.

A bill to legalize gay marriage is currently being looked at by the country's politicians and has passed the first of four debates. But it has been dubbed as “unconstitutional” by the nation's conservative lawmakers.

Vásquez told the website: 'We did it because we believe in Colombia. We have lived in different cities in the world and we prefer to return to our country.

 “We are beginning to build [a better country] through our new union,” he said.


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