The internal stairs of Colombia’s Congress were partially covered with rose petals this week when about 150 people from the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community staged a “besatón” in favour of same-sex couple marriages and to protest statements made by a senator the week earlier.

AP Foto/Fernando Vergara

The event “is for our rights and, of course, also as a symbolic and respectful way and non-violent protest what the senator, who has not noticed (of) the Constitution has hanged and must be respected,” said in Bogota Councilwoman Angelica Lozano of the partido Progresistas (Progressive Party), who was one of the organizers of the event.

The LGBT community is supporting a bill that would allow legal reforms so that all the Colombian regulations contemplate marriage of same-sex couples. So far in Colombia, said Lozano, it only covers civil unions or contracts.

AP Foto/Fernando Vergara

With the decoration of some red petals and multicolored flags on the steps, the demonstrators received apologies from Congress President Roy Barreras, for the statements made by conservative senator Roberto Gerlein on November 20 during the first debate on the law on marriage between same-sex couples.

Gerlein, on presenting his position on the project, said that sex between same sex was “dirty, filthy, a sex that deserves condemnation, an excremental sex”.

In Colombia, gay couples can register with a notary a “uniones de hecho” o “uniones civiles” (de facto unions or civil unions), but without constituting a “marriage”.

Same-sex couples, by a decision of the Constitutional Court in 2007, have the rights of inheritance ad can join the healthand pension system.

AP Foto/Fernando Vergara

Although there are no official figures, non-governmental groups like Colombia Diversa, says it defends the rights of the LGBT community it estimates at between 8% and 10% of Colombia’s 46 million population and that there are some 300.000 Colombians live as same-sex couples.