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Same sex couples constitute family: Colombian Constitutional Court

posted by Benjy Hansen-Bundy
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The Colombian Constitutional Court on Monday reasserted its support for gay rights in response to a reactionary appeal raised by the Inspector General.

In May of 2012, Colombia’s inspector general sought to annul the court’s 2011 decision which established survivor pension rights for couples of the same sex. The court on Monday reasserted the stance it took in 2011, which was that couples of the same sex constitute family before the law. An official ruling on the Inspector General’s appeal has yet to be provided by the court.

BACKGROUND: Colombian inspector general attempts to prevent gay marriage legislation

According to the court’s online summary of the ruling, “Survivor pension protection extends to life partners of the same sex.”

The court ruled that homosexual partners currently lack certain rights afforded to heterosexual partners and instructed Congress to pass a remedy through “comprehensive, systematic, and orderly legislation” by June 20, 2013 to address the imbalance. If Congress does not pass legislation in that time, homosexual couples will be permitted to go before a notary or a court to have their partnership recognized.

MORE: Court gives Colombia Congress 2 years to pass gay marriage bill

“The ruling held that the phrase ‘man and woman’ in the definition of marriage is in conformity with the Colombian Constitution, but the justices were of the view that such a phrase does not imply a prohibition against a legal bond between homosexuals, similar or equal to that of the heterosexual couples,” according to the Constitutional Court’s website.

“Homosexuals have the right to form a family,” the Court ruled in 2011.

The topic of gay marriage remains divisive in Colombia. As in the United States, legislators here struggle over the constitutional definition of marriage.

Polemic views reveal a nation of conflicting sensibilities, which were on display when the local media made quite a stir over homophobic comments made by a Colombian senator.

MORE: Gay sex is repulsive: Colombian senator

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About the author

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After studying Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University, Benjy Hansen-Bundy traveled extensively in South America, before landing in Medellin. His work at Colombia Reports has focused on human rights and culture. Hansen-Bundy also writes for various travel blogs and for PolicyMic.

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