Chilean President Sebastian Piñera
on Thursday signed a same-sex marriage law, making Chile the 31st
nation to extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
The signing ceremony took place at the
Presidential Palace in Santiago, the nation's capital.
“Freedom, true freedom is always
built when we recognize ourselves as equal in dignity and in rights
and above all under the law,” Piñera
signed the bill into law just two days after lawmakers gave final
approval. It will take effect in March.
who announced his support for the bill in June, returned to the
Chilean presidency in 2018, four years after his first term ended.
During his first term, Piñera,
a conservative, introduced a civil unions bill for gay and straight
couples who have lived together for more than one year. In backing
civil unions, Piñera
snuffed a burgeoning campaign for same-sex marriage in Chile. His
bill became law in 2015.
Former President Michelle Bachelet, the
first woman to hold the Chilean presidency and the current U.N. high
commissioner for human rights, introduced a same-sex marriage bill in
Gay couples can marry in neighboring
Argentina. Other South American nations with same-sex marriage
include Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Uruguay.