The government of Chilean President
Michelle Bachelet has started the process of debating a proposed
same-sex marriage bill.
Bachelet in 2015 signed a bill that
recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions. Many
supporters were disappointed that she did not push for equal marriage
rights for gay couples, as she had pledged to do during her election
campaign. Last year, Bachelet announced that her government would
introduce a marriage bill in 2017.
Bachelet announced the process on
January 20 at La Moneda Palace, the Washington
Blade reported. She said that a marriage equality bill will
be sent to Congress at the end of the process, before June 30.
“The process will allow the country
to generate a satisfactory bill on marriage equality, recognizing the
same rights for everyone,” she said.
The bill, however, is not being given
priority, disappointing some LGBT leaders.
“We're disappointed they changed
their minds,” said Luis Larrain, executive director of Fundacion
Iguales, who said that the government had promised him and other
activists that the bill would be fast tracked. “Do they really
believe in equal rights and the acknowledgment of all types of
families all the way, or only half way?”
While polls show that a majority (64%)
of Chileans support marriage equality, conservative groups and the
majority Roman Catholic church strongly oppose such unions.