The Chilean Parliament has overwhelmingly said “yes” to homosexual marriage. The new law will allow “married” same-sex couples to adopt children. The vote comes between the two rounds of a contested presidential election, which could see a Catholic from the national right ascend to the top of state.
The presidential palace of La Moneda in Santiago, Chile, was illuminated on December 7, 2021. The facades, white and dull, had taken on the colors of the rainbow, not to honor the Virgin, a few hours from the feast of the Immaculate Conception, but to celebrate the final green light from Parliament, to the “marriage for all” project.
“We feel immense joy and great satisfaction,” said Isabel Amor, director of the Iguales Foundation, and Chilean passionaria for LGBT “rights,” after a historic vote in a predominantly Catholic country.
A dark day for the promoters of the Catholic marriage which began in the Senate, earlier in the day: the upper house largely approved the project by 21 votes for, eight against, and three abstentions.
Then it was the turn of the deputies to proceed to an express vote, the result of which was also without surprise: eighty-two deputies in favor, twenty against, and two abstentions.
However, since 2015, there had been a civil union law in Chile, open to all, but that was not enough for the progressive lobbies who wanted to see the legislature recognize adoption and filiation within same-sex couples.
To enter into force, the law has yet to be technically ratified and promulgated by Sebastian Pinera, which should only be a formality, since the Chilean head of state has never hidden his support for the project.
This support may come as a surprise, given that the Chilean President – who created the surprise in June 2021 by declaring the text to be an emergency – who says he is right: in fact “The goal of Pinera’s commitment to this text is not so much to remain in posterity in general, but to mark the history of the liberal right,” says Anna Kowalczyk, a political scientist at the University of Santiago.
The quick green light from Congress for a text so heavy with consequences for society as a whole is no coincidence either: it comes in the middle of the presidential campaign, before the final election on December 19.
However, the first round, on November 21, placed José Antonio Kast (national conservative) in the lead, with 27.9% of the vote, two points ahead of his rival, Gabriel Boric (left).
A fervent Catholic and father of nine children, José Antonio Kast did not hesitate during the last televised debate on November 15, to denounce the action of the “gay lobby,” recalling in passing that children have an inalienable right: “To have a father and a mother.”
But this does not allow adoption nor filiation. The existence of a legal framework already offering a union to people of the same sex has been among the arguments of the detractors of marriage for all.
On the left, we want to be reassured: even if the Conservative candidate is elected, that it will be “very difficult for him to repeal this kind of law,” says Isabel Amor.
With the sad vote of December 7, 2021, Chile joins, in Latin America, the grim list of countries to have legalized homosexual “marriage,” with Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and fourteen of the thirty-two Mexican states.