Since January 28th in Chile, same-sex couples have a legal instrument that recognizes their union as a complementary civil status. This represents a significant step in the recognition of the rights of the Chilean LGBT population. This law will give legal recognition and protection to same-sex parents, who have been historically discriminated.
Now, Chileans are only waiting for the Civil Union agreement to be enacted as a law of the Republic by President Michelle Bachelet. In this sense, the legislation will regulate the legal effects of common and affective life of two persons of the same or different sex, and will benefit more than two million people in the country, which is equivalent to 12.5% of the total national population.
The news was widely celebrated by the LGBT population as a triumph in the recognition of civil rights and the eradication of social gaps towards homosexual people.
“We are happy with this new. It is the first time that the State recognizes that a same-sex couple is also a family, and they deserve protection. It is a step forward to value diversity”. Said Luis Larraín, President of Fundación Iguales.
On the other hand, the spokesman of the Government, Álvaro Elizalde, stressed that “civil union is a fundamental institution for those couples who today live together without being married. It is a status that does not discriminate, it applies to all kinds of couples and, most importantly, it allows us to recognize the various forms of family and protect them. These are achievements of which we are proud as a Government.”
The agreement of Civil marriage contains various aspects regarding the formalization of the bond, heritage and social security for couples. These couples will now have access to public and private health system, to negotiations of economic schemes, to obtain survival pensions and compensation, as well as to attend the succession of property as heir from their civil partner.
With this achievement, the LGBT movement stressed that it is not the end of the struggle of sexual diversity. This law, even when politically it is a step toward equal marriage, will not eliminate the prejudices and myths of the most conservative part of the population. However, it is a starting point to develop educational policies regarding the protection of the rights of same-sex couples who love each other and have a life in common, so they can regularize their situation and, thus, build a more inclusive society.