Chile’s Congress passed a bill on Tuesday that will make the country the first in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. The reform bill must now be signed by the president, Michelle Bachelet, but lawmakers are confident that she will do so.
This development follows a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, which was in favor of the bill and said that citizens have the right to choose who will be eligible to be in their families.
Lawmakers say that they are hoping that this bill will create a positive example for the country. It is an issue that social activists in Chile have been focusing on for years. Earlier this year, about 5,500 people protested outside the country’s congress, the majority of whom were members of the LGBT community.
Alfredo Barrientos, head of the Chilean FUTEC organization that campaigns for gay rights, told El Pais: “Today the Chileans have found a new way to create more equality in their country. We are happy and we think the government should really show its happiness at the way they finished this process.”
The country’s senate had initially voted down a same-sex marriage bill in 2011, but last year a legislative commission brought the issue to a referendum, which the government then signed off on. This passed by a vote of two-to-one in the chamber.
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