Colombia's Constitutional Court said
Wednesday that gay and lesbian couples are entitled to equality.
An April 2008 lawsuit supported by a
number of human rights organizations sought to alleviate a series of
inequalities in Colombia law.
Colombia does not offer gay marriage or
civil unions for gay couples, but in 2007 the same court extended
several common-law marriage benefits to gay couples. Yesterday's
ruling goes farther, giving gay couples all the benefits and
responsibilities enjoyed by heterosexual common-law couples.
Gay and lesbian couples can claim
common-law marriage after living together for two years.
The ruling alleviates discrepancies in
the areas of military pensions, social security benefits and property
Several prominent lawmakers support
giving more rights to gay and lesbian couples, Bogota's Mayor Luis
Eduardo Garzon and prominent Senator Armando Benedetti among them,
reports the Washington Post.
Colombia lawmakers have attempted to
pass a civil union law in the past, but the effort collapsed under
the weight of opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, the South
American country's near universal religion.
Bogota, the nation's capital and
largest city, enjoys a thriving gay nightlife and community, but
homophobia in the country of 42 million remains entrenched and
violence is widespread. Gay people are often called desechables,
which translates to disposable people.