On December 7th, Chile’s National Congress approved the bill concerning same-sex marriage, which then was signed off by President Sebastián Piñera. This milestone represents years of struggle faced by the LGBTQ+ community and the decision is one step further in achieving equality in the country. . 

Starting in March 2022, same-sex couples will be able to acquire a legal marital status, however, civil union partnerships have been recognised since 2015. The key difference here is the full recognition of rights as married couples and privileges that come with it, such as adoption. 

The Andean country has witnessed several attempts to legalize the marital status of same-sex couples in the past. Michelle Bachelet, for instance, was a precursor of this legislation and tried to push it forward during her mandate in 2017. Ultimately, the Senate passed the bill this July after the Chamber of Deputies approved it in November.  

“The time has come to consecrate the freedom to love and to form a family, and the time has come to give full value to the dignity of all relationships of love and affection between two people,” said President Piñera  as he endorsed this long-awaited legislation. 

Chile, commonly categorized as conservative due to its Catholic majority, has been taking more liberal approaches in the last decade. Public support towards same-sex marriage has progressively increased and a recent poll reported that  over 65% of the population support it.

This breakthrough adds Chile to the list of other 30 countries worldwide that legally recognize same-sex marriage, and 7th in South America after Ecuador, Costa Rica, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Brazil. 

Chile is one of the most economically prosperous countries in the region so hopefully this step forward could influence the rest of LATAM. 

On the other hand, domestic affairs are definitely going to be influenced by this decision. The presidential elections will be held this weekend and the candidates could not be further from each other. Boric, a social democrat, and Kast, as a right-wing conservative, are on the ballot for the seat. The latter has an advantage from the first round where he came on top. 

Regarding the outcome of the legislation, Kast expressed “We respect democracy, but that doesn’t mean we change our convictions. For us, marriage is between a man and a woman.” Meanwhile, Boric tweeted “Despite the resistance of those who do not believe in freedom, it is reaffirmed that love is love.” 

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