Bolivia for the first time has
recognized the union of a gay couple. The recognition comes after a
two-year legal battle.
David Aruquipa and Guido Montano, both
in their forties, have been together for 11 years. In 2018, they
applied to register their union but were denied. Authorities said
that the nation's laws did not recognize same-sex unions.
The men filed a lawsuit, successfully
arguing that the state's denial “violated international human
rights standards and constituted discrimination under Bolivian law,”
The Bolivian Constitution defines a
“free union” as a heterosexual union with the same effects as
During a news conference, the men said
that the ruling was an example that Bolivian society was
“transforming” to become more accepting of people who identify as
Human Rights Watch had called on
Bolivia's national civil registry to abide by the court's ruling to
register the couple's relationship as a free union.
“Gay and lesbian couples are an
integral part of Bolivia's social fabric and deserve to be recognized
by the state and its institutions,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas
director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “All civil
registries in Bolivia should stop treating them like second class
citizens and start recognizing their unions.”
Gay and lesbian couples can marry in
several Latin American nations – despite strong opposition from
religious groups – including Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia,
Uruguay, and much of Mexico.