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
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
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.