Colombia on Thursday became the fourth
Latin American nation to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian
With a 6-3 decision, Colombia's
Constitutional Court ruled that gay couples can obtain a marriage
license in a process identical to straight couples and that judges
and notaries cannot refuse to marry gay couples.
It was uncertain when the ruling would
Plaintiffs in the case were six gay
couples who wish to marry, the Washington
The same court in 2011 ordered
lawmakers to approve legislation that would give gay couples the same
benefits as married heterosexual couples. The court said that if a
law is not approved by June 20, 2013, 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.” After
lawmakers failed to act, many public notaries began registering civil
unions as marriages; others, however, refused.
Only three other nations in Latin
America allow gay couples to marry: Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Gay couples can also marry in Mexico City and many Mexican states.