December 8, 2018 at 5:25 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Human rights commission president reaffirms marriage support

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights President Margarette May Macaulay reiterated her support of marriage rights for same-sex couples on Dec. 5, 2018, during a hearing on the issue in D.C. (Photo courtesy of Inter-American Commission for Human Rights)

The president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Dec. 5 reiterated her support of marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“There’s only one race in the world and that’s the human race,” said Margarette May Macaulay during a hearing on marriage rights for same-sex couples in the Americas that took place at the commission’s headquarters in D.C. “And if there’s only one race, the human race, all humans are entitled to the same rights. It is a fundamental, easy, easy thing to accept if one is a thinking human being, but of course common sense is not so common.”

“You go further, it follows logically that, so therefore, same-sex couples, the LGBTI family are entitled to family which embodies all the rights attached to marriage as an accepted norm,” she added.

Macaulay, who is from Jamaica, made her comments after activists from Chile, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and the U.S. spoke during the hearing.

Pro-marriage rulings in Costa Rica, Chile reignite debate

Macaulay referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ 2012 decision in favor of Karen Atala, a lesbian judge in Chile who lost custody of her three daughters to her ex-husband because of her sexual orientation. Flávia Piovesan, the commission’s LGBTI rapporteur who is from Brazil, on Saturday also noted the Atala case when she spoke at OutRight Action International’s annual summit in New York City.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January issued a landmark ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage and transgender rights in the Western Hemisphere.

The Costa Rica Supreme Court on Nov. 14 formally released a ruling that says lawmakers have 18 months to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. The Chile Supreme Court on Dec. 5 issued a ruling that said marriage for same-sex couples is a human rights.

LGBTI activists participate in an Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hearing on marriage rights for same-sex couples in the Americas in D.C. on Dec. 5, 2018. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBTI advocacy group, in 2012 filed a lawsuit on behalf of three same-sex couples who are seeking marriage rights in the country.

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s government in 2016 said it would introduce a same-sex marriage and adoption bill as part of an agreement it reached with the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation in its lawsuit. Hunter T. Carter, a New York-based lawyer who represents the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, noted to the Washington Blade in response to the Chile Supreme Court ruling the country’s current president, Sebastián Piñera, has “reneged” on the “agreement to settle that case that requires the government to promote marriage equality legislation.”

“It is time for marriage equality in Chile and everywhere in the Americas as ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” said Carter.

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

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