Colombia might recognize gay and
lesbian couples with civil unions by June as an effort to approve a
gay marriage bill falters.
After several false starts, the
Colombia Senate on Wednesday began debating the marriage bill
sponsored by Senator Armando Benedetti. But after hearing nearly
three hours of testimony, Senators agreed to postpone a vote on the
bill until Tuesday. Leaders said the delay was due to technical
difficulties in broadcasting the debate.
Outside the chamber, hundreds of
supporters and opponents rallied in Plaza de Bolivar. Equal marriage
advocates wrapped a sculpture of their nation's hero, Simon Bolivar,
with a giant rainbow flag and staged a kiss-in.
Senate President Roy Barreras was
accused of favoring opponents as the debate proceeded. Many of those
who testified against passage of the measure made inflammatory
statements against gay men and lesbians, but it was LGBT activists
who Barreras accused of acting uncivil.
Andres Duque was following live coverage of the debate.
“Colombia Senate Prez Roy Barreras:
We will not admit radical voices (after guy argued marriage equality
= anal cancer),” he messaged on Wednesday to his more than 5,900
Twitter followers. “Colombian Senate President Roy Barreras, after
saying he won't admit radical voices, says children will be
Before the debate got underway,
conservative party La U announced that they had the votes needed to
kill the measure, and Barreras reiterated that he opposed the
measure. Benedetti said he held out hope the bill would pass.
On Friday, news broke that notaries
were preparing for Congress to miss the June 20 deadline imposed by
the Constitutional Court and that a draft civil unions contract was
being circulated among them.
The high court in 2011 ordered Congress
to approve a law recognizing the relationships of gay couples before
June 20. If a law is not approved by that date, 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,”
the court wrote.