While some Colombian senators spoke out that the gay marriage proposal was set to be defeated, Senator Armando Benedetti on Wednesday denied the claims and said congress is “divided.”
It was reported last week that U and Conservative Party members, who together hold the majority in congress, had made a pact to vote against the law and that Wednesday’s congressional debate would consequently consign the controversial law to defeat.
However Senator Benedetti spoke to Colombia Reports, signaling there is still hope for the proposal’s survival.
“Congress is very divided,” he said, stating that less than half of the party members were present when the agreement was made with the Conservatives.
Co-director of the U Party Jose David Name declared after the agreement was reached that “this is not the historic moment” for the law to be passed, however Benedetti, a U Party representative and the principal backer of the gay marriage law, told Colombia Reports that congress is split over the bill.
According to Benedetti, there will be no majority vote for the law either way. “Congress has disappeared once again,” said the senator indicating “it will be left to the judges of the courts to grant these rights to homosexual people through [individual] sentences.”
The law needs 51 votes to be passed and an equal number of votes for the law to fail completely.
In accordance with a 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice, if no legislation is passed on homosexual marriage before June of 2013, then Colombian homosexual couples will have the right to go before a notary or court to have their partnership recognized by the state.
Meanwhile Colombian Catholic Church representatives sent a letter to the senate, urging them not to pass the gay marriage bill and warning that to do so would leave them “responsible” for the “grave negative effects the undermining of marriage and of family as an institution would have on society.”
The letter, signed by the highest authority of Colombia’s Catholic Church, Cardinal Ruben Salazar, was sent to all members of the senate and was personally delivered to Senate President Roy Barreras as well as to Senator Benedetti.
Senator Roberto Gerlein also spoke out against the gay marriage bill on Wednesday, denouncing the influence that the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights group has had on congress before the debate, referring to the “dangerous pressure in favor of the project” the group has placed on congressmen due to vote on the gay marriage bill.
“The best solution would be that [the LGBT community] refrain from placing pressure on Congress to pass the gay marriage law in the way that they are doing,” said Gerlein.
Gerlein also called on homosexuals in Colombia to come to a “cordial” agreement, in which “they can calmly get on with their lives without needing to go to these extremes,” stating that in Colombia “we aren’t friends to gay marriage.”
Other senators who expressed their opinions on Wednesday include Claudia Wilches and Edgar Espindola, who both declared that the passing of the law would violate the Colombian Constitution.
The vote will be taken by congress on Wednesday afternoon.
- “Hay presiones peligrosas de parte de la comunidad LGBTI”: senador Gerlein (El Espectador)
- Interview with Armando Benedetti
- Se hundió el proyecto de matrimonio gay (Vanguardia)
- Senadores cristianos arrecian críticas contra matrimonio igualitario (El Espectador)
- Iglesia pide al Senado votar contra el matrimonio gay (El Tiempo)
- Matrimonio gay: Benedetti pide a Gobierno pronunciarse (El Heraldo)
- Día decisivo para el futuro del matrimonio gay en Colombia (El Tiempo)