April 24, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Colombian Senate rejects same-sex marriage bill
Colombia, Bogota, gay news, Washington Blade

El Capitolio Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia (Photo by Rikimedia via Wikimedia Commons)

The Colombian Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have extended marriage rights to same-sex couples couples in the South American country.

Senators opposed the proposal by an 51-17 vote margin a day after they debated it.

“Marriage is a fundamental right,” Sen. Luís Carlos Avellaneda said. “The principal of equality extends the same protection to all Colombians without discrimination.”

Congresswoman Alba Luz Pinilla Pedraza said the bill is about civil — and not religious — marriage. Sen Luís Fernando Velasco stressed “we are all equal” during his testimony as he spoke in support of LGBT Colombians.

“They don’t want our sympathy, what they want is that we recognize human dignity,” he said.

Colombian lawmakers had been expected to vote on the same-sex marriage bill last week, but it was delayed.

Sen. Roberto Gerleín Echevarría mocked the testimony of Martha Lucía Cuéllar de San Juan, a Bogotá psychologist who referenced her gay son whose partner of 11 years died as she spoke in support of the proposal last Thursday, while speaking against the bill.

Sen. Alexandra Moreno Piraqüive cited Denmark, Sweden and other countries that allow same-sex marriage as she spoke about how she feels nuptials for gays and lesbians harms Colombian children.

“We should not compare ourselves to another country,” she said.

Colombian senators rejected the same-sex marriage bill a day after the French National Assembly gave final approval to a measure that would extend adoption and marriage rights to gays and lesbians.

Argentina, Mexico City and 10 Brazilian states that include São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are among the Latin American jurisdictions in which same-sex couples can legally marry. Uruguayan lawmakers earlier this month approved a bill that will allow nuptials for gays and lesbians.

The Colombian Senate in 2007 defeated a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.

The country’s Constitutional Court in three separate rulings it issued later that year and in 2008 extended property and inheritance rights, social security and pension benefits to same-sex couples. The tribunal in 2009 ruled gay and lesbian couples who live together must receive the same rights that Colombian law affords unmarried heterosexual couples.

The Constitutional Court in 2011 issued a ruling that said the country’s Congress must pass legislation within two years that extends the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage to same-sex couples. Gays and lesbians can legally register their unions if lawmakers fail to act on this judicial mandate by June 20.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

5 Comments
  • billywingartenson

    Teh aacutal date is June 20 2013. i tlooks like Columbia will have civil unions then

    Expect a frestorm of hate from the catholic church and the cartel.

  • one way or antoher its going to happen> May not be marriage, just civil unons but its anotehr slap in the face to the evangelicals and the rape the kiddies church of rome.

    To say nothing of what's happeining in the world.

    France, Ururguay and NZ pass marriage equality in april 013.

    in the last two weeks, DE and RI did the same. MN house passed marriage yesterday 75-59 despite the god bothererss. Almost sure to get past the senate Monday and gov has said he will support it.

    IL in progress, passed senate mos ago, seems stalled in the house and the leadership wont bring it to a vote till they are sure it will pass.

    3rd and final reading of the marriage bill in Gr. Britain which on second reading passed 400 to 175.

    IF the house of lors balks a special provision allows the parliament.

    to pass it over the lords objections, only issue is a years delay.

    Remember the battle her has just begun. still along way from a state majority though close to a population majority if Scotus trashes Prop 8.

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