SANTIAGO – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Monday sent to Congress a bill that would legalize gay marriage in one of Latin America’s most conservative nations.
“We do this with the certainty that it is not ethical nor fair to put artificial limits on love, nor to deny essential rights just because of the sex of those who make up a couple,” Bachelet said in Chile’s La Moneda presidential palace.
Two years ago, Chile’s Congress had approved same sex civil unions after years of legislative wrangling.
This year In March, Bachelet, a center-left politician, pledged to send a full marriage bill to legislators before the end of the year.
Bachelet’s push for marriage equality also comes as countries across the region are expanding gay rights. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in recent years in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Mexico, despite the powerful influence of the Catholic Church, which opposes such unions..
Given that Bachelet will exit office in March 2018, the marriage bill may not have time to make it through congress before her departure.
Last week, a Chilean court gave the green light to a law passed in July that will allow abortion in limited cases. Before that, Chile was one of only a handful of countries in the world that outlawed terminating a pregnancy in any situation, including when a woman’s life was in danger.