A Chilean senatorial commission controlled by the center-left opposition approved a bill establishing equal marriage in Chile on Tuesday, marking the first advance of an initiative originally presented in 2017.
The Senate Constitution, Legislation and Justice Commission endorsed the initiative by four votes to one, which recognizes marriage between same-sex couples and recognizes the right to adopt, among other things.
The project was now sent to the Finance Commission, which will have to review matters related to new expenses that the Civil Registry would have if these changes are finally approved. If this committee also endorses the initiative, then it will be sent to the full Senate, where only a simple majority is required to approve it.
The center-left opposition, which favors the proposal, has a majority of 24 votes against 19 of the ruling party.
“Today we took a relevant step, which we hope to advance decisively so that this year the law is promulgated,” said Rolando Jiménez, leader of the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (MOVILH).
Jiménez added that “this project has been in process for four years and has barely advanced. The debt and the unjustified and excessive delay of the National Congress is as insensitive as it is unjustifiable ”.
The marriage equality project made its first breakthrough since center-right president Sebastián Piñera surprised and angered his supporters by urging the initiative on June 1.
“I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country … in this way, all people, regardless of sexual orientation, will be able to live love and form a family, with all the protection and dignity that they need and deserve” Piñera said then, who for years affirmed that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Chile has had a Civil Union Agreement (AUC) since 2015 that civilly recognizes heterosexual and homosexual couples and protects aspects such as inheritance and certain health care benefits.
The equal marriage bill was sent to Congress in 2017 by former center-left president Michelle Bachelet, seven months before the end of her second term (2014-218). Since then, only the idea of legislating on the matter had been approved, but without registering any progress.