Colombian High Court Says It Will Legalize Same-Sex Marriage in Two Years if Congress Fails to Do So
Colombia's Constitutional Court yesterday ruled that the legislature must pass a same-sex marriage bill within two years or the courts will allow it, according to Colombian Reports:
The court ruled that homosexual partners currently lack certain rights afforded to heterosexual partners and instructed Congress to pass a remedy through "comprehensive, systematic, and orderly legislation" by June 20, 2013 to address the imbalance. If Congress does not pass legislation in that time, homosexual couples will be permitted to go before a notary or a court to have their partnership recognized.
Reactions to the court's decision were mixed among the Colombian LBGT community. Many gay Colombians were pleased that the court had insisted that they had a right to some form of union, but were dismayed that the court had sent the issue back to Congress.
A bill to recognize gay marriage has already been proposed and defeated six times in the Colombian Congress, and conservative politicians and the country's organized religions remain opposed to recognizing gay marriage.
The media outlet adds that the Colombian congress still appears to be split on the issue.
CNN adds: "The court did rule on Tuesday that gay couples in de facto unions constitute a family. Gay-rights supporters celebrated the ruling in the streets."
The Colombia Constitutional Court today rejected a lawsuit that would have legalized same-sex marriage there:
The president of the Constitutional Court, Judge Mauricio Gonzalez Cuervo, said that "nothing is final, and it is possible to insist on civil marriage for same sex couples in front of the court, but with more detailed arguments because this article will play a vital role within Colombia's constitution."
Gay rights groups are planning a protest, CNN reports:
Protesters are planning to gather in the central square of Bogota, the nation's capital, Friday, said Yeiler Manuel Tapia Barrios, an activist from the coastal town of Baranquilla.
"We feel that they are violating our rights as citizens. We also pay the same taxes," said Tapia, 24.
After a hearing Thursday, Colombia's Constitutional Court voted 5-4 to dismiss a lawsuit arguing for a change in the country's civil code that would allow same-sex marriage in the South American country, claiming there was not sufficient evidence to proceed, CNN affiliate Caracol TV reported.
The lawsuit, filed in September 2009, aimed to change the definition in the country's civil code which defines marriage as "a solemn contract through which a man and a woman unite," Caracol said.
Felipe Montoya, the lawyer who filed the suit, wanted judges to eliminate the expression "man and woman" from the code, Caracol reported. But the court ruled that the lawsuit did not have sufficient legal arguments for the court to take the case.
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Could Colombia be the next country in Latin America to make an attempt at bringing marriage equality to their people? According to Colombia Reports, many people in Bogota are open to the idea:
"A government-sponsored poll conducted in Colombia's capital found that 63% of Bogota residents are in favor of same-sex marriage, newspaper El Tiempo reports."
"The telephone poll, conducted between December 2009 and January 2010 and published Thursday, asked 1,200 Bogotanos between the ages of 18 and 59 if they supported gay civil unions. Of those interviewed, only 36% said they thought it should not be permitted. The poll found that women were more likely to be in favor of same-sex marriage than men, and also reported a positive correlation between socio-economic status and liberal views."
"'In the lower stratas more work needs to be done ... There was a greater acceptance of the issue among those with higher education,' said Carolina Giraldo, director of the Bogota Mayor's Office's Sexual Diversity Department."
"Giraldo said the study was undertaken to investigate discrimination, and the vulnerability of the rights of the LGBT community in Bogota. The study suggests that there is more acceptance of homosexuality in Bogota than in other parts of Colombia."
Earlier this week, the lesbian mayor of Chapinero, a municipality in Bogota, recently announced that she will intends to marry her girlfriend in October.