Same-sex marriages legalized in Colombia

Apr 29, 2016, 6:29 AM EDT
L.G.B.T. march in 2013
(Source: Diego Cambiaso/flickr)

Colombia, predominantly a Catholic country, became the fourth Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriages with the constitutional court extending the same marital rights to gay couples as enjoyed by heterosexual partners. The ruling, which was premised on securing an individual’s fundamental right to be married with no discrimination, comes as a milestone for marriage equality activists.

“The court’s decision to grant all Colombians, regardless of their sexual orientation, the right to marry the people they love is a landmark move for human rights in the country”, said José Miguel Vivanco, director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division.

Earlier this month, the magistrates of the constitutional court had scrapped a judge’s petition, which sought the matter of same-sex marriage to be decided by the national congress, writes the BBC. Colombia has now joined Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, the Latin American countries where gay marriages are legal.

Colombia’s congress failed to introduce a law that could legalize same-sex marriage even after an order from the constitutional court in June 2011, notes Human Rights Watch. In the absence of the necessary legislation, judges and notaries in the country faced legal uncertainty for over two years, which eventually led to an arbitrary discrimination among L.G.B.T community.