The Congress of Colombia announced on
Friday the start of legislative efforts to recognize the
relationships of gay and lesbian couples.
The Senate on Monday will begin debate
on a proposal to legalize civil unions.
The bill is sponsored by Senator
Armando Benedetti and Rep. Alfonso Prada.
Last year, Colombia's Constitution
Court upheld marriage as a heterosexual union but gave lawmakers an
ultimatum: recognize gay unions before July 20, 2013 or we'll do it
According to the order, if Congress
fails to act, then “gay couples can go to a notary and with the
same solemnity of a heterosexual marriage enter a union similar to
one between a heterosexual couple,” said Judge Juan Carlos Henao,
the court's president.
In response, lawmakers have introduced
several competing bills, including one from the nation's third
largest political party, the Partido Liberal Colombiano, which would
legalize marriage for gay couples.
Benedetti's and Prada's bill would give
gay couples “the same rights of couples united by the bond of civil
marriage,” Spanish news agency EFE