Colombia’s Supreme Court called on legislators Tuesday to pass gay marriage legislation within two years.
The court ruled that homosexual partners currently lack certain rights afforded to heterosexual partners and instructed Congress to pass a remedy through “comprehensive, systematic, and orderly legislation” by June 20, 2013 to address the imbalance. If Congress does not pass legislation in that time, homosexual couples will be permitted to go before a notary or a court to have their partnership recognized.
Reactions to the court’s decision were mixed among the Colombian LBGT community. Many gay Colombians were pleased that the court had insisted that they had a right to some form of union, but were dismayed that the court had sent the issue back to Congress.
A bill to recognize gay marriage has already been proposed and defeated six times in the Colombian Congress, and conservative politicians and the country’s organized religions remain opposed to recognizing gay marriage. Last week, representatives from the Catholic, Anglican, Greek Orthodox, Methodist, and Colombian Evangelical churches joined together to persuade the court not to recognize homosexual marriage rights.
Colombian congressmen appear to remain split on the issue. Juan Manuel Corzo, the conservative chairman of the Senate said that “the constitution is clear in arguing that marriage is between a man and a woman, not same-sex.”
However, Rafael Prado, the director of the Liberal Party, responded to the ruling by saying, “the church is the church, but political decisions and rights are issues that we in politics have an obligation to address. We defend those rights and it is clear that same-sex couples should have equal (rights).”