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Chile One Step Closer to Same-Sex Civil Unions

Chile One Step Closer to Civil Unions

Chile One Step Closer to Civil Unions

Chilean Legislature Approves Bill to Allow Civll Unions to All Couples

As reported by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), Chile took a big step forward this week toward LBGT equality as its legislature voted to allow civil unions for all people, including same-sex couples. While the bill does not go so far as to legalize same-sex marriage, it does permit legal status for permanent cohabitation by two persons, regardless of sex or gender. The bill will become law once signed by President Michelle Bachelet.

In addition to simply allowing civil unions, the law will expand the concept of family, asserting that children in cohabitating couples are considered relatives and, if one of the parents becomes disabled, a family judge can grant a civil partner custody of the children without giving priority to biological family. This law also guarantees child and family benefits, social security, and life-insurance benefits.

“This is a major step forward for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Chileans and families who can now enter into a life partnership under the law assured of benefits and rights,” said María Mercedes Gómez, IGLHRC regional program coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. “It shows the dedication of the Chilean civil society, and the political will of the government. However, while we view this decision very positively, we also recognize the legal limits for civil partnerships. While this bill gives civil partners nearly all the rights and benefits of married couples, the ultimate goal must be full equality before the law, which includes the possibility of marriage.”

So anyone planning a trip to Santiago or Valparaiso soon?

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