Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chile to extend legal protections to same-sex couples?

Is Chile poised to extend legal protections to same-sex couples?

Members of a right-wing political party have reportedly acknowledged same-sex couples in the South American country suffer discrimination. The Independent Democrat Union's 1991 and 2009 platforms explicitly define marriage as between a man and a woman, but neighboring Argentina allows gays and lesbians to the the knot. And Uruguay could potentially follow suit.

Is this reported potential overture a baby step towards equality for gay and lesbian Chileans? One Chilean gay rights group scoffed at the idea the IDU would encourage unmarried couples to formalize their unions as a means to strengthen traditional marriage.

"Here we are talking about the dignity of two million people who live together," said Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual (Movilh) in a statement posted to its Web site. "We are talking about love and its impact and the UDI wants to impose marriage as the only option for heterosexuals and in the process deny it--only based on homophobia--to homosexuals. Conservative visions like this, that correspond to religious interests, violate the secular state."

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