Chilean Senator Fulvio Rossi announced
Sunday he'll introduce a gay marriage bill shortly, the Spanish news
agency EFE reported.
The announcement follows quick on the
heels of Latin
America's first gay marriage law taking effect over the weekend in
The proposal does not include the
adoption of children, but Rossi told reporters he hopes to debate the
issue at a later date.
The measure is being backed by Carolina
Taho, incoming president of the Partido por la Democracia (PPD)
“We do not think gay people have
fewer rights to build stable relationships than heterosexuals,”
Taho said. “On the contrary, we think they are citizens who are
entitled to live their lives once the legislation gives them the
conditions to do so safely.”
Lawmakers are already considering a set
of reforms called the Acuerdo de Vida en Comun (AVC) which would give
both gay and straight couples all the rights and obligations of
marriage. The legislation would be similar to civil union laws
adopted by several states in the United States.
The AVC has already stirred controversy
and many lawmakers are not interested in voting on the measure so
close to elections later this month.
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz,
the archbishop of Santiago, spoke out Saturday against Argentina's
gay marriage law.
“It may be that two people, two men
or two women, want to live together and share life, but to call that
marriage is an aberration,” he said.
Rossi called on the Roman Catholic
Church “to be more tolerant” and said the cardinal's statements
had “caused immense pain.”
While Chilean President Sebastian
Pinera has publicly backed the AVC, his party, the Renovacio
Nacional, has already rejected the idea of legalizing gay marriage in
the Catholic stronghold.
Since the legalization of gay marriage
in Argentina, neighboring
Uruguay and Paraguay have announced plans to consider similar