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Colombia Gay Unions Bill Dies
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 20, 2007 - 11:00 am ET 

(Bogota) Less than a week after Colombia's Congress passed legislation giving same-sex couples most of the same rights as opposite-sex married couples the bill has died in a procedural move by conservative senators.

The lower and upper houses of Congress last week passed slightly different versions of the bill. (story)  After harmonizing the two pieces of legislation into a single bill the measure passed the lower house but in the Senate conservative senators who had initially supported the bill pulled out sending it to defeat.

The reversal came after the powerful Catholic Church in Colombia warned lawmakers they were violating Vatican policy and could be denied the sacraments.

President Alvaro Uribe had said he will sign the bill into law, making Colombia the first Latin American country to nationally allow civil unions.

Under the legislation same-sex couples would have been able to register as partners.  They would have to have had to live together for more than two years and be of legal age.

In return they would have received the same social security and inheritance rights as married couples.

It is the fifth time since 1999 gay-supportive have attempted to pass the legislation, but each time it failed after opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.

Supporters of the bill say they will re-introduce in the next session of Congress.

In February the Constitutional Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples must have the same property rights as opposite-sex couples.

The court struck down the definition of cohabitating couples as "men and women" in a 1990 law that allowed unmarried couples property rights including joint ownership of land and rights when one partner died.

The court said the law must be gender neutral. But the court carefully noted the decision did not automatically permit civil unions.  That issue it said was up to the Congress.

©365Gay.com 2007

 


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