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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 17, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 29
Civil unions being scheduled in Chile
Section One
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Civil unions being scheduled in Chile

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Gay and Lesbian couples are jamming civil registry offices in Chile, scheduling their civil union ceremonies.

July 9 was the first day Chilean same-sex couples could apply for a license to form a civil union. The first ceremonies will take place in October.

Many couples Tweeted selfies at the registry offices and took the opportunity to announce the date set for their ceremonies.

'We were the FIRST couple that signed up,' wrote Felipe Egido, who shared a picture of himself, his partner, and a Chilean official.

Gay author Pablo Simonetti and his partner, José Pedro Godoy, were also among the same-sex couples who applied for licenses in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

And out Councilmember Jaime Parada, and his fiancé, Victor Fuentes, wrote 'The next party will be on the 24th October. Thank you very much for all the support!'

Activists say that civil unions are just the first step in the country, which maintains its ban on same-sex marriage and adoption, and has an unequal age of consent.

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet, who signed the civil unions law in April, campaigned on the promise of legalizing same-sex marriage but to date only a small group of Latin American nations - including Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay - currently allow same-sex marriage. Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but the ruling does not automatically invalidate existing laws.

The new civil union law allows couples to inherit each other's property, join their partner's health plan, and receive pension benefits.

'The civil union law is a vindication in the struggle for sexual diversity rights,' Bachelet said.

Bachelet, a Socialist and the daughter of an army general who was tortured to death under the right-wing Pinochet dictatorship, was president in 2006-2010 and was elected to a second term in 2013. Chilean presidents may not serve consecutive terms.

Ironically, her opponent in the 2013 election was a childhood friend, Evelyn Matthei, whose father was a general who supported Pinochet.

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