The Senate in Chile has overwhelmingly
approved a bill which seeks to recognize the relationships of gay and
The legislation, first introduced in
2011 by President Sebastian Pinera, made its way to the Senate floor
on Tuesday. According to the Santiago Times, Senators
approved the measure with a 28-6 vote and two abstentions.
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 Pareja).
Gay rights activists cheered at
Pinera's 2011 signing ceremony but angry leaders of his center-right
coalition refused to attend the ceremony in protest.
The measure's sudden change of fortune
comes less than a month after Michelle Bachelet, who campaigned for
full marriage rights for gay couples, was elected president.
Bachelet, who led the nation from 2006 to 2010, returns as president
Gay rights group Movilh cheered passage
in the Senate, saying it remains skeptical that Bachelet can deliver
on her promise of marriage.
“When Michelle Bachelet was last
president, she promised three things regarding sexual equality, none
of which her administration delivered,” Movilh spokesman Oscar
Rementeria told The
Santiago Times. “As such, we cannot have complete
confidence that she is going to deliver what she promises this time
The bill now heads to a constitutional
committee. A second reading in the Senate could happen as early as
According to CNN Chile, more than 2
million couples could benefit from the legislation.