Chile approves gay marriage and adoption of children by same-sex couples

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The Chilean Congress approved on Tuesday (7) the bill that allows gay marriage and the adoption of children by same-sex couples in the country. The text, approved in the Senate with 21 votes in favour, 8 against and 3 abstentions, also passed through the Chamber, which ratified the changes made in the upper Chamber.

According to senator Pedro Araya, leader of the commission that suggested changes to the proposal, the discrepancies were related to points such as designation of membership in documents, labor rights and updating of the gender identity law, which, when it was written, did not include gay marriage .

One of the restrictions indicated by the agency was the limitation of the number of parents of a child to just two, as there was a loophole in the previous text that allowed the adoption to take place by a group of people.

In the case of children generated through assisted reproduction techniques, membership is limited to the two people who underwent the process. The use of surrogates is still prohibited.

The bill had already been approved by deputies on the 23rd, by 101 votes in favour, 30 against and 2 abstentions. This Tuesday, the Chamber supported the changes proposed by the Senate, this time with 82 votes in favour, 20 against and 2 abstentions. Now, the bill awaits the approval of President Sebastián Piñera, who, close to the election of his successor, has already shown himself in favor of the law, which he wants to leave as a legacy.

During his first term, from 2010 to 2014, the current Chilean leader did not encourage discussion around gay marriage in Parliament. In June of this year, faced with a pronounced drop in popularity, however, Piñera resumed the project submitted by her predecessor, Michelle Bachelet.

“We must deepen the value of freedom, including the freedom to love and to form a family with a loved one,” he said at the time, giving urgency to the theme. His term ends in March 2022.

Chile, one of the last countries to approve divorces, in 2004, only recognized same-sex unions through the Civil Union Agreement. The mechanism, however, is considered limited in relation to inheritance and pension issues and does not provide for the right of couples to have children.

Chile is now the eighth Latin American nation in which equal marriage is guaranteed by the courts, after Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico —in some states—, Uruguay and Brazil, where same-sex civil union was declared legal by the Supreme Court in 2011 and permitted by a resolution of the National Council of Justice two years later.

Approval is given less than two weeks before the second round of presidential elections, scheduled for December 19. The leftist Gabriel Boric and the ultra-rightist José Antonio Kast are contesting the presidency. According to the latest Cadem poll, released over the weekend, Boric leads with 40% of voting intentions, against 35% for Kast. There are, however, according to the survey, 25% of undecided.

The leftist, who is a deputy, voted to approve the proposal in Parliament. In the last debate before the first round, he asserted that the rival’s anti-civil rights position was discriminatory.

The opponent, who has more than once cited the existence of an alleged “gay lobby” in the press to influence people, is against the new legislation. In his program, Kast says that, if elected, he will prevent “children from being forcibly indoctrinated” and will defend “the right of every child to have a father and a mother”.

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