Thousands of people on Saturday marched
in Chile's 13th annual Gay Pride parade.
Roughly 10,000 people – 40,000
according to organizers – braved the threat of rain to take to the
streets of Santiago, Chile's capital.
The marchers carried a giant rainbow
flag as they wound their way through the city to the Paseo Bulnes,
where a cultural event was held.
“This demonstration is to demand the
politicians put up high the things we are proposing from civil
society, including gays, lesbians and transgendered people,” said
Rolando Jimenez, president of the gay rights group Movimiento de
Integracion y Liberacion Homosexual (Movilh). “To demand the
government make urgent a Life Partner Agreement. To tell the
presidential and parliamentary candidates that we want a marriage
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in
2011 sent to Congress a bill which seeks to legalize civil unions for
gay and lesbian couples. Pinera's bill would allow gay and straight
couples who have lived together for more than one year to enter a
legal contract called the Life Partner Agreement (Acuerdo de Vida en
Comun). But lawmakers have mostly ignored the proposal and activists
have criticized it.
Former Chilean president Michelle
Bachelet, who is campaigning to replace Pinera, has endorsed marriage
Bachelet, candidate for Chilean president, backs gay marriage.)