John M. Becker

Chile Advances, Macedonia Regresses on Relationship Rights

Filed By John M. Becker | January 21, 2015 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Chile, civil unions, gay marriage, Macedonia, marriage equality, same-sex marriage

wedding_rings.jpgThe South American nation of Chile took a step towards relationship recognition for same-sex couples yesterday, when its legislative lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, passed a civil unions bill.

Telesur reports:

Chilean legislators overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex civil unions Tuesday. Eighty-six legislators in the Chamber of Deputies voted for the bill, while 23 voted against it and two abstained.

"This is a law that does not discriminate and it gives protection to all couples and families in the country," government spokesperson Alvaro Elizalde stated.

Many LGBTI rights advocates argue civil unions are still a step away from full marriage rights, though grassroots groups in Chile have largely welcomed the Chamber's decision as a step in the right direction.

The bill will now head to the Senate for a final vote.

President Michelle Bachelet supports full marriage equality and says that equal marriage rights remains her long-term goal, but that civil unions are a stepping stone in that direction. According to a 2013 Pew poll, 46% of Chileans support marriage equality and 42% are opposed.

Sadly, as Chile took a step forward on relationship recognition, the European nation of Macedonia took a giant step backwards.

The European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights reports:

[Tuesday], the Parliament of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) voted to constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Furthermore, it created a constitutional hurdle to possible future legislation on same-sex civil unions.

The amendment defines that "[m]arriage shall be a life union solely of one woman and one man." Furthermore, point two reads that "legal relations in marriage, family, and civil unions are to be regulated by a law adopted by a two-thirds majority of the total number of Members of Parliament."

The amendment found a majority of 72-4, but still needs final confirmation through an additional parliamentary vote and presidential approval...

An earlier version of the draft Amendment, which explicitly banned same-sex civil unions or registered cohabitation was strongly criticized by the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe in constitutional affairs.

The Commission argued that if the Amendment would regulate other partnerships than marriage, it should ensure equality in terms of rights for same-sex and opposite-sex partnerships, in line with Article 8 (right to private and family life) and Article 14 (right to non-discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Let's hope this majority Eastern Orthodox country steps back from the brink and stops this bigoted crusade against LGBT couples and families.

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