Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the legislature must pass a same-sex marriage bill within two years. If the legislature fails to act, same-sex couples will be able to formalize their unions before a notary public or a court. This is a momentous step, although it seems like the LGBT community of Colombia actually feels let down. CNN reports that activists see it as a victory.
The Colombian legislature is split between allies and bigots. From an American point of view, the Constitutional Court took a tremendously positive step, but I can also see why the Colombian LGBT community is unhappy. It leaves the specifics to a legislature that will more likely than not drag its feet, and that has, multiple times in the past, rejected same-sex marriage bills. There is, as expected, opposition in the government.
It is unclear what will happen. The Court ruled that same-sex couples in de facto unions constituted a family. However, the Court did not necessarily say the legislature had to call it marriage. Nor did the Court extend marriage to same-sex couples as advocates had hoped. In theory the legislature could pass something like civil unions, although I am not an expert in Colombian law, so I cannot speak to the available options.
More on this story as it develops (no doubt at a snail’s pace.) In the meantime, I understand Uruguay is on the verge of passing a same-sex marriage bill.