Chile has become the latest country to allow LGBT couples to marry and adopt children after its parliament passed a bill that was introduced four years ago.
The same-sex marriage bill was taken up by Parliament in 2017, where it languished until Tuesday, when it was adopted by both houses of the National Congress, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.
The move makes Chile the seventh Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide after Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Ecuador, and Costa Rica. Same-sex marriage is also recognized in several states in Mexico.
La Moneda, the presidential palace in Chile’s capital Santiago, was illuminated in rainbow colors, which symbolize the struggle for LGBT rights.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera promised to finally get the bill passed earlier this year. “I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country,” Pinera said in June. “In this way, all people without distinguishing by sexual orientation, will be able to live, love and form a family with all the protection and dignity that they need and deserve.”
Ronaldo Jimenez, the co-founder of the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement, a Chilean LGBT rights group, praised Tuesday’s vote.“It is a powerful sign of the cultural change that we have been pushing for more than 30 years in a society that was deeply conservative,” Jimenez told La Razon newspaper.
Some conservative politicians criticized the bill’s adoption. Leonidas Romero, an MP from the National Renewal party, argued that civil unions already allowed LGBT people to inherit property and other assets from their partners. “Marriage for me is between a man and a woman, with the main idea of bringing a child into the world,” he said during a debate on Chilean TV.