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Chilean deputies approve equal marriage

SANTIAGO (AP) – Chilean legislators approved a bill on Tuesday that allows same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, the penultimate step for equal marriage, already approved by the Senate, to become law.

Of the 133 deputies present, 101 voted in favor, 30 against and two abstained. The vote took place four months after the Senate approved equal marriage and that it will now have to analyze a series of modifications introduced by the deputies related to the rights of homosexual couples.

During the session, several pro-government deputies expressed their rejection of the project, including Diego Schalper, who stated that “the role of marriage is not to regulate an affective relationship, it is to safeguard the preservation of the species as a basic principle.” His colleague Miguel Mellado pointed out that “without sexual difference there is no marriage.”

In turn, the center-left opposition closed ranks in favor of the project. One of them was Deputy Matías Walker, who pointed out that “we believe in the equal dignity of the different types of family that the law must defend”, followed by his counterpart Pepe Auth, who added that “marriage is a civil contract .. This is a question of freedom, not religion ”.

While the debate was taking place at the Legislative headquarters in the neighboring port of Valparaíso, in front of the University of Chile in the capital, members of the Iguales Foundation, which promotes the full inclusion of sexual diversity in Chilean society, displayed a gigantic flag associated with the LGTBIQ + community with its classic colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

The approved project seeks that homosexual couples can access civil marriage. Since 2015, the Civil Union Agreement (AUC) has been in force in Chile, which allows the legal bond between homosexual and heterosexual couples, but does not pronounce on adoption by same-sex couples. Some couples bound by the agreement annul their union and adopt as single.

The bill slept for four years in the Senate until on June 1, President Sebastián Piñera surprised the country and angered the ruling party during his last message to the country by announcing that he would put great urgency on the equal marriage initiative. Until that day he had always claimed that marriage was between a man and a woman.

“I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country,” was Piñera’s phrase.

The initiative had originally been sent to Congress in 2017 by then-President Michelle Bachelet six months before the end of her second term (2014-2018), under whose management the AUC came into force.

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