Colombia’s inspector general, members of the Catholic church and various Christian organizations on Wednesday formed a new alliance in the Senate against gay marriage.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez formed the bloc ahead of the second of four senate debates over the proposed gay marriage bill, which takes place on April 10.
BACKGROUND: Colombia congress restarts gay marriage debate
Senators Edgar Espindola Niño of the National Integration Party and Claudia Wilches Sarmiento of the U Party, both vocal critics of the gay marriage proposal, were behind the senate initiative.
“The recognition of persons of the same sex as family is unconstitutional,” said Espindola.
Espindola is no doubt referring to Article 42 of the Colombian constitution, which states that marriage is “between a man and a woman.” Espindola’s argument has already been questioned by Colombia’s Constitutional Court.
“The phrase ‘man and woman’ in the definition of marriage is in conformity with the Colombian Constitution, but the justices were of the view that such a phrase does not imply a prohibition against a legal bond between homosexuals, similar or equal to that of the heterosexual couples,” the court stated in March, reasserting its 2011 ruling that same-sex couples constituted families before the law.
Marcela Sanchez, the director of Colombian equal-rights NGO Colombia Diversa, said the nature of the debate had been misinterpreted.
“It is not an anti-gay marriage bloc, but a bloc that is against the rights of a discriminated group of the population. I want to clarify that, in reality, we are talking about a contract of civil matrimony, not about religious matrimony. We respect that the Catholic church does not marry homosexuals…but this is a debate about the Colombian constitution, not about the Catholic church or any other church, but about civil matrimony…In Uruguay there is a Catholic church too; there [they] approved egalitarian matrimony, while here [in Colombia] we are still asking what a family is, here we are very much behind,” Sanchez told Colombia Reports.
The topic of gay marriage remains divisive in Colombia. Polemic views reveal a nation of conflicting sensibilities, which were on display when the local media made quite a stir over homophobic comments made by a Colombian senator.
- Procurador, católicos y cristianos crean bloque anti-matrimonio gay (El Espectador)
- Interview with Marcela Sanchez of Colombia Diversa
- Colombia sabrá suerte del matrimonio gay el 10 de abril (El Espectador)