The Chilean Senate on Tuesday approved
a bill which seeks to recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil
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.
The proposal now heads to the
120-member Chamber of Deputies.
Alvaro Elizalde, a government
Reuters that the approval is “an expression of a more inclusive
Chile, which values diversity and guarantees equal rights for
“The AVP does not weaken families,
but strengthens them, because regardless of origin it gives them
protection,” he added.
Senator Juan Antonio Coloma of the
opposition UDI party criticized the measure, saying “the next step
is gay marriage and the next step is adoption, which is an extremely
LGBT rights advocate Movilh said in a
statement: “Today triumphed family diversity and the rights of
children. Today we celebrate … and hope the same will happen in
the Chamber of Deputies.”