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Colombia Planning to Legalize Same-sex Marriage
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of April 9, 2016) In an extraordinary session on April 7, 2016, six of the nine judges of the Colombian constitutional court rejected a memorandum against marriage equality for same-sex couples.
Judge Jorge Ignacio Pretelt Chaljub had asked the highest court to deny homosexual couples the right to marry. In his opinion, the Colombian constitution stipulates that only heterosexual couples may get married. However, his motion would have needed the support of the absolute majority, which means five votes.
In his fight against judge Jorge Pretelt’s motion, Alberto Rojas Ríos was supported by five of his colleagues, i.e. the judges Gloria Stella Ortiz, Jorge Iván Palacio, Victoria Street, Alejandro Linares and Luis Ernesto Vargas.
Although the decision of April 7 is deemed historic, it does not automatically allow same-sex marriage in Colombia. This is why, on judge Rojas’ initiative, the constitutional court is planning a “new project” on same-sex marriage for its next session.
In order to reject marriage for homosexual couples, two of the judges would have to change their opinion. Therefore it is likely for same-sex marriage to become reality in Colombia sooner or later.
The constitutional court had already recognized in 2011 that same-sex couples can form a fully valid family and ordered the parliament to present a law on same-sex unions no later than in 2013. When this did not happen, the constitutional court legalized same-sex registered partnerships for lesbians and gays.
Judge Jorge Pretelt intended to put an end to these “civil unions”, which are signed before a judge or a notary. The Catholic Church and several political parties have already announced their will to legally challenge any future decision for same-sex marriage.
Based on another decision by the constitutional court, same-sex couples have been able to adopt children since November 2015, and same-sex partners are considered in social security and inheritance matters.