A Chilean Senate committee this week
unanimously approved a bill which seeks to recognize gay and lesbian
couples with civil unions.
The legislation, first
introduced in 2011 by former President Sebastian Pinera, 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 Pareja), or AVP.
Earlier this year, the Senate agreed to
the legislation in principle.
President Michelle Bachelet, who served
as the country's first female leader between 2006 and 2010, returned
to power in March. She campaigned on a progressive platform,
promising to carry out reforms such as a free post-secondary
education, legalizing abortion and opening discussions on same-sex
Justice Minister Jose Antonio Gomez has
proposed legislation which would make Chile only the fourth South
American country behind Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to allow gay
couples to marry.