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Activists present in the stands of the congress. Photo: Movilh Chile
Activists present in the stands of Chilean Congress. Photo: Movilh Chile

Chile approves same-sex marriage

Chile became the seventh Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. 

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With a tally of 101 votes in favor, 30 against, and two abstentions, the Chilean Chamber of Deputies approved same-sex marriage on Tuesday, Dec. 7, meaning the bill is now one signature away from law.
 
Earlier on Tuesday, the Senate had approved this bill with 21 votes in favor, eight against and three abstentions.
The bill establishes that marriage is a solemn contract by which two persons unite "currently and indissolubly, and for life, for the purpose of living together, procreating, and helping each other."
 
"I am tremendously moved. It's a little hard for me to keep my composure. It has been a race of several kilometers," said Isabel Amor, director of Fundación Iguales and who remained in the stands of the Congress waiting for the historic vote.
 
Other activists in the stands also enthusiastically celebrated the vote and unfurled banners and a rainbow flag in the hall.
The new law must be enacted by President Sebastián Piñera, who decided to speed up its passage through Congress, where the bill had been sitting since 2017 after being sent by the government of then-President Michelle Bachelet.
 
Piñera's decision surprised Chileans, since the issue was not on the public agenda, in addition to the fact that, as a right-wing leader, Piñera had never supported equal marriage — a right that is part of the agenda of progressive movements.
 
At the time, the president warned that the value of freedom should be deepened, including that of loving and forming a family with a loved one.
 
"And also the value of the dignity of all relationships of love and affection between two people. I think that the time has come to guarantee this freedom and dignity to all people. I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country," the president said in one of his speeches in June.
 
So far, only seven countries in Latin America allow equal marriage: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay and parts of Mexico.
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