Colombia’s Constitutional Court has approved an amendment to the Civil Code which now allows same-sex couples and unmarried life partners to inherit their partner’s assets in the case of their death.
The Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of the provision by eight votes to one in the Plenary Chamber, which ensures that the state will legally recognize life partners of either heterosexual or homosexual inclination in terms of inheritance.
The law previously only permitted the transfer of assets between opposite-sex spouses, something that the majority of the nine-member court felt was a violation of fundamental rights to people of the gay community.
The Constitutional Court clarified, however, that the decision “only has economic effects” and that it does not alter the legal concept of a family that is in effect, namely the union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation, El Tiempo reported.
The same tribunal is currently holding two separate processes at the request of the gay community, which concern the right to same-sex marriage and the right to adopt.
While the decision was heralded by gay rights activists, Carlos Fradique, a civil and family law expert, slammed the ruling as “blatantly unconstitutional” and warned that it could pave the way for an institutionalization of bigamy and polygamy.
Monica Roa, director of the NGO Women’s Link Worldwide, said that she “commends the judges [and] congratulates the leaders who fought to bring forward this decision,” stating that the court is sending an important message of recognition of the rights of same-sex couples.