Dozens of gay and lesbian couples rushed to marry in Colombia on Thursday, the deadline imposed by the nation’s highest court for Congress to approve marriage rights for gay couples.
In 2011, the Constitutional Court ordered Congress to approve a law recognizing gay couples before June 20, 2013. The court said that if a law is not approved by that date, then “gay couples can go to a notary and with the same solemnity of a heterosexual marriage enter a union similar to one between a heterosexual couple.”
Some notaries told couples that they could enter a “solemn union” but not a marriage. Lawmakers had earlier proposed enacting such unions for gay couples. But whether solemn unions were equal to marriage was unclear since the legislation was not approved.
A marriage bill died in the Colombia Senate in April.
Gay rights activists pledged to return to court to seek clarification on the issue.
Earlier this week, the president of the Colombian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Ruben Salazar, called on judges and notaries to refuse to hold ceremonies uniting gay couples.
Salazar, also the Archbishop of Bogota, said that judges and notaries cannot be forced to unite gay couples if it goes against their religious beliefs.
Source: OnTop Magazine