President Sebastián Piñera surprised on Tuesday by announcing his support for equal marriage in Chile, for which he will urge the project that rests in the Senate.
Piñera made the announcement during the traditional public account to the nation, the last of the president before the end of his second presidential term, in March 2022. The previous one was between 2010 and 2014.
“I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country, in this way, all people, regardless of sexual orientation, will be able to live love and form a family, with all the protection and dignity that they need and deserve,” announced at the beginning of his one and a half hour speech, broadcast online by the press.
Until now, the position of the center-right president was that “marriage is between a man and a woman”.
“We are in the presence of a milestone for the political right, a historical fact that runs the stigmas and barriers of inequality and prejudices that have contaminated the most homo / transphobic sectors of the country,” said Oscar Rementería, spokesman for the Movement of Integration and Homosexual Liberation (MOVILH).
He added that the approval of the project on equal marriage “will improve the quality of life of homoparental families and same-sex couples.”
Chile has had a Civil Union Agreement (AUC) since 2015, which civilly recognizes heterosexual and homosexual couples, and protects aspects such as inheritance and certain health care benefits.
The equal marriage bill was sent to the Senate by the center-left former President Michelle Bachelet in late 2017, shortly before the end of her 2014-2018 term.
“This announcement and change of position by Piñera is as surprising as it is positive … Once and for all we should move decisively towards the equality for which we have fought for more than 30 years, amid insults and attacks just for being who we are” declared a former MOVILH leader, Rolando Jiménez.
The center-left opposition in Congress agrees with the project, which is rejected by the majority of the ruling party,
Chile is a country recognized for its conservatism, although in recent decades it approved the divorce law, a gender identity norm in favor of transgender people, and another that decriminalizes abortion in cases of rape, a danger to the life of the woman mother and unviability of the fetus.