March 7, 2016 at 1:01 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Ricky Martin speaks in support of same-sex marriage in Chile

Ricky Martin, concert, gay news, Washington Blade

Ricky Martin on March 5, 2016, spoke in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Chile during a meeting with advocates in the South American country. (Photo courtesy Fly-Life Inc.)

Ricky Martin on Saturday spoke in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“I want marriage equality for Chile,” said Martin in a video that Fundación Iguales, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, released.

Martin on Saturday met with Fundación Iguales President Luis Larraín and other Chilean LGBT rights advocates in the country’s capital of Santiago. U.S. Ambassador to Chile Mike Hammer was among those who also attended the meeting with the openly gay Puerto Rican singer.

The U.S. Embassy in Chile acknowledged Hammer’s participation in the meeting on its Twitter page.

“Ricky Martin is a figure known around the world who allowed us to reach a much larger audience with his message of equality and nondiscrimination,” said Larraín in a press release. “We hope that his testimony as a gay father will serve to eliminate prejudices among those who still have them and that the government will realize that it cannot keep postponing marriage equality with filiation.”

Martin met with Fundación Iguales while he was in Chile on tour.

Larraín told the Washington Blade on Monday that the gay Puerto Rican singer met with members of his organization shortly after it’s founding in 2011.

“They contacted us last year to ask us if we were interested in meeting with him again,” said Larraín. “We obviously said yes.”

Martin met with Fundación Iguales less than five months after a law that allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions took effect.

President Michelle Bachelet publicly supports marriage rights for same-sex couples, despite persistent opposition to the issue in the conservative South American country.

Her government last year formally ended its opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians in a lawsuit before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Bachelet also supports a bill that would allow trans Chileans to legally change their name and sex without surgery.

The Chilean Ministry of Health last month issued a statement in which it described so-called conversion therapy as “a grave threat.” Bachelet’s government has also urged doctors in the South American country to no longer perform surgeries that “normalize” the sex of intersex children.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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