Colombia Embraces Marriage Equality

April 8, 2016 in General

Colombia’s Constitutional Court voted in favor of legal marriage equality today, in a 6-3 decision, reported Spanish-language Colombian LGBT media outlet EgoCity. The ruling takes effect immediately, meaning same-sex couples can now marry throughout the South American nation. The decision makes it the fourth South American state to embrace marriage equality, behind Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Marriage equality is also possible in some Mexican states.

The decision was not wholly unexpected, as the court had long been considering a case filed by four same-sex couples who argued that the state was required to provide equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. In 2011, the constitutional court ordered the national congress to create a law establishing marriage equality by June 20, 2013. Lawmakers failed to meet this deadline, which means same-sex couples in Colombia have technically been able to legally recognize their relationships since 2013, though to do so couples were required to seek out a notary or judge to formally solemnize their commitment. Because there was no definitive policy regulating these unions, many same-sex couples were turned away by judges and notaries. Four such couples filed the lawsuit that was decided today, which determines that no judge or notary can legally refuse to marry a same-sex couple.