Two days after promising he would back
a gay marriage bill, Chile Senator Fulvio Rossi, the president of the
Socialist Party, introduced the measure on Tuesday, the Spanish news
agency EFE reported.
“We are establishing more rights, we
are deepening democracy, and we are establishing that marriage, or
the right to marry, is a human right,” Rossi said in introducing
The measure seeks to alter the
definition of marriage in Chile's civil code from a contract between
“a man and a woman” to one between two persons and strike out a
reference to procreation.
On Monday, Rossi tweeted: “Tomorrow
Chile will be a country a bit more democratic.”
Senators Isabel Allende (PS) and Guido
Girardi (PPD) joined Rossi in introducing the bill. Also attending
the presentation were representatives from the
Movimiento de Integracio y Liberacion Homosexual (Movilh), the
nation's largest gay advocate.
Senator Juan Antonio Coloma of the
conservative Union Democrata Independiente (UDI) signaled that his
party would defend marriage as between a man and a woman “because
that's the essence; if not, it's not marriage.”
It is the first officially introduced
gay marriage bill in Latin America since Argentina became the first
country in the region to legalize the institution. Argentina's
neighbors Uruguay and Paraguay have also announced plans to consider
Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz,
the archbishop of Santiago, spoke out Saturday against Argentina's
gay marriage law, which went into effect Friday.
“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.
The proposal does not include the
adoption of children, but Rossi has said he hopes to debate the issue
at a later date. A recently approved gay marriage bill in Portugal
excludes the right to adopt.
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. Its sponsor, Senator Andres Allamand (RN), said “marriage
should be reserved for a heterosexual relationship,” but added that
he opposes discrimination in the law.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera
holds a similar view. He's publicly backed the AVC, but his party,
the Renovacio Nacional, has already rejected the idea of legalizing
gay marriage in the Catholic stronghold.