Chilean President Pinera signs same-sex marriage bill into law

The law ‘puts all love relationships between two people on an equal footing’, says Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Chile's government palace is illuminated with the colours of the LGBTQ flag after the Senate approved a same-sex marriage bill this week [Alex Ibanez/Chilean Presidency handout via Reuters]

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera has signed an historic bill legalising same-sex marriage into law, days after the measure was approved by Congress.

The law “puts all love relationships between two people on an equal footing”, Pinera said at a ceremony at La Moneda government palace on Thursday alongside LGBTQ activists, civil society representatives, legislators and other officials.

The law includes recognition of parental ties, full spousal benefits and adoption rights for married same-sex couples, among other reforms.

“All couples who so wish, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be able to live, love, marry and form a family with all the dignity and legal protection they need and deserve,” Pinera said.

Chile’s Senate voted 21-8 in favour of the marriage equality legislation on Tuesday, with three abstentions, while the Chamber of Deputies passed the bill 82-20, with two abstentions.

The bill was originally sponsored by Pinera’s predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, who introduced it in 2017.

Pinera, a centre-right leader who is leaving office in March, and his government threw their full support behind marriage equality this year.

The law’s passage marks an important milestone after a decade-long legal battle in the South American nation, which is holding a presidential runoff later this month.

Chile has long had a conservative reputation – even among its strongly Roman Catholic peers in Latin America – but most Chileans now support same-sex marriage.

“Love is love, no matter what,” rights group Amnesty International said, calling the new law “great news”.

Chile is the ninth country in the Americas to pass marriage equality legislation, joining Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, the United States, Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

Civil unions have been permitted in Chile since 2015, which affords same-sex partners many but not all the benefits of married couples.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies