The Colombian congress postponed a vote for the second time on a controversial law to legalize gay marriage on Tuesday. But not before a conservative congressman called gay sex “scatological and for purely recreative ends.”
Both supporters and opponents of gay marriage have gathered in Bogotá’s Bolívar Square to conduct protests as lawmakers planned to discuss the issue of same-sex marriage.
Various social and political sectors have critized the Colombian government for not supporting the bill. Benedetti, a prominent promoter of gay-marriage said: “There has been a disregard among congressmen, political parties, and the government to legislate on the subject.”
Regarding the indifference of the Colombian Government, the senator claimed that the authorities do not want to lose an important ally in the Catholic Church, which has expressed their disapproval of same-sex marriage, calling it “a nonsense approach” that goes against the country, where 80% of the population is Catholic.
“They don’t want to lose that ally and they have preferred to keep silent when the rest of the planet is already talking about equal marriage,” continued Benedetti.
Supporters of the bills held up signs reading, “God loves me just the way I am,” and demanded respect for their rights. Those against the bill wore wedding dresses to symbolize “traditional values,” according to one protestor.
A gay man holds a sign saying that he supported religious freedom in Colombia. Photo: Mike’s Bogota Blog
Recognition of same-sex unions in Colombia
Colombia has no laws providing for same-sex marriage. However, as a result of Constitutional Court ruling on 28 January 2009, same-sex couples can be recognized as de facto unions (uniones de hecho), which were previously available only to heterosexual couples and which provide all of the rights of marriage.
According to the 1991 Constitution, “de facto unions” are legally equal to marriages.
A couple will be regarded as a de facto union after living together for two years. A union can be either registered or unregistered; both have the same status, but the registered union may provide greater convenience when accessing rights. A union can be registered through a public deed before a notary or a judge.