New Chilean government says they won’t “prioritise” legalising same-sex marriage

They will be passing the responsibility onto the county’s Congress.

Last year, Chile’s President, Michelle Bachelet, confirmed plans to introduce a bill that would legalise same-sex marriage. And then in September, the bill, alongside a same-sex adoption bill, was introduced. However, later this month, Bachelet’s four-year tenure ends, and the bill still hasn’t been approved by lawmakers.

Her replacement is Sebastián Piñera, who had previously served as the country’s President from 2010 to 2014. On Thursday, his new spokesperson, Cecilia Pérez, confirmed that this new administration would not be prioritising legalising same-sex marriage.

Pérez said: “Within the program there is no commitment to take forward or lead a procedure regarding equal marriage.

“It will be the parliamentarians themselves who must have the consensus, the necessary dialogue to be able to carry out that bill.”

The statement was met with criticism from LGBTQ activists in the country. Juan Enrique Pi, the President of the LGBTQ advocacy group Fundación Iguales tweeted: “Sexual diversity matters to most Chileans. Structural discrimination towards the LGBTI community is a form of violence, and the Government on duty must take care of it.”

Speaking with T13, the group’s education director, Isabel Amor said: “We hope that the next administration does not impede the legislative process and that it understands that since most of the citizens are in favor of the approval of equal marriage, our representatives in the Congress have a serious discussion about it.”

However, it’s not all bad news, as Pérez confirmed that the new administration would be willing to implement Bachelet’s Gender Identity Bill. Pérez said that the government sought to “advance in all the discrimination that lies behind us and respect the rights of each of our compatriots.”

LGBTQ rights are coming a long way in South America, as recently a court ruling said that 20 different Caribbean, Central and Southern America countries needed to legalise same-sex marriage, with Chile being among them. Out of those countries only Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay have done so. Costa Rica has pledged to follow the decision, although no same-sex marriages have taken place in the country yet, with the first one that was due to happen being blocked the day before.

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