Same-sex marriage in Colombia
Same-sex marriage in Colombia has been legal since 28 April 2016, when the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled by a 6-3 vote that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional under the Colombian Constitution of 1991. The first same-sex marriage to be performed in the country following the ruling occurred on 24 May 2016. The country has also recognised same-sex de facto unions since 2007.
De facto unions
A de facto union (Spanish: unión marital de hecho) can be registered through a public deed before a notary or a judge. A registered union may provide greater convenience when accessing rights. If unregistered, a person may have to prove the union's existence to a court.
On 7 February 2007, the Constitutional Court of Colombia extended several common-law marriage property and pension rights to same-sex couples. A subsequent court decision, handed down in October 2007, extended social security and health insurance rights to same-sex couples. Later, on 28 January 2009, the Constitutional Court gave 42 more rights to cohabitating same-sex couples that were previously only granted to heterosexual couples (including nationality, residence permits, testimony when in jury, family-properties laws, etc.). A final ruling that was handed down on 13 April 2011 extended inheritance rights to same-sex couples. Under a 2020 ruling in a case that involved a same-sex couple, a person who wishes to prove a de facto union must provide details such as the dates during which they lived together, social events they attended together, mutual support during difficult times, or joint projects. The Sala de Casación Civil of the Constitutional Court announced that ruling (in case SC5040-2020) on 4 January 2021.
From February 2007 to August 2012, at least 51 same-sex de facto unions were registered by notaries in the coastal city of Cartagena. During that same time period, 74 and 140 such unions were registered in the cities of Soledad and Bogotá, respectively.
Civil union proposals
On 15 June 2007, the lower house of the Congress of Colombia approved a historic same-sex union bill by a vote of 62-43, and President Álvaro Uribe was expected to sign the measure, which had been approved by the Colombian Senate in April. However, on 19 June, a group of conservative senators broke party discipline in what is usually a routine vote on the final form of a bill and defeated the measure by 34-29 in the 102-member Senate. About 80 LGBT rights advocates held a demonstration outside Congress the following day, protesting the bill's defeat. Supporters vowed to revive the legislation.
The bill, which had been endorsed by conservative President Álvaro Uribe, would have made Colombia the first nation in Latin America to grant same-sex couples in long-term relationships the same rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security as heterosexual couples.
On 17 March 2015, Senator Armando Benedetti introduced a civil union bill. The bill failed as it was not debated in time. It was re-introduced by Senator Roy Barreras on 30 July 2015. On the same day, senators Benedetti and Barreras introduced a bill allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.
On 26 July 2011, the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled 9–0 (in case C-577/2011) that, while it could not change the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, nevertheless same-sex couples have the right to form a family. The Court ordered the Colombian Congress to pass legislation addressing this issue (whether by legalizing same-sex marriage or another marriage-like union) within two years (by 20 June 2013). If such a law were not passed by that deadline, the Court said, same-sex couples would automatically become able to register their relationship before a notary. In 2011, after the Constitutional Court ruling, four bills were announced in Congress to recognize same-sex couples: two used the word "marriage", and the other two would have created civil unions.
In October 2012, Senator Armando Benedetti introduced a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The bill initially only allowed for civil unions, but the text was changed by Benedetti. President Juan Manuel Santos did not take a position on the bill. The Senate's First Committee approved the bill on 4 December 2012. On 24 April 2013, it was rejected by the Senate in a 17-51 vote, after being postponed on two different occasions. The negative outcome was expected, as the two biggest parties made a commitment to kill the bill. Senator Benedetti responded to the vote calling the Colombian Congress "worthless", and stating that senators who voted against the project wanted the Congress to be like the ones of "Congo, Uganda, Bolivia and Haiti".
Days before the vote, Superintendent Jorge Enrique Vélez announced that if the Congress failed to pass the same-sex marriage bill before the 20 June deadline, the Minister of Justice would prepare guidelines for notaries and judges to conduct "solemn contracts" for same-sex couples. On 18 April 2013, the country's Notaries Association presented their own proposal, which sought to set guidelines for the celebration of same-sex couples' "marital unions". On 20 June, notaries across the country started performing these unions; however, LGBT activists advised people not to engage in those contracts because, they said, the framework for a "marital contract" did not exist in the country's laws. In the following days, several couples made petitions to judges to have their relationships recognized through marriage.
On 24 July 2013, a civil court judge in Bogotá declared a male same-sex couple legally married, after a ruling on 11 July 2013 accepting the petition. This was the first same-sex couple married in Colombia.
In September 2013, two civil court judges married two same-sex couples. The first marriage was challenged by a conservative group, and it was initially annulled. However, in October, the Bogotá High Court (Spanish: Tribunal Supremo de Bogotá) maintained the validity of that marriage. The issue of same-sex marriage once again went before the Constitutional Court after the country's Inspector General requested that the court invalidate all the marriages. A hearing was scheduled for 7 May 2015. It was postponed as some judges were not present and a new hearing open to the public happened on 30 July 2015. A verdict was to be reached before 31 August 2015.
Recognition of same-sex marriages performed overseas
In May 2015, Colombian Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo announced the Colombian Government's support for a move to recognise same-sex marriage. He made the statement the day after a multi-country same-sex couple began an unprecedented legal battle to have their 2013 marriage (registered in Spain) recognised in Colombia.
Colombian government agencies began recognising same-sex marriages lawfully performed in foreign jurisdictions in March 2016. Same-sex couples married abroad are now entitled to the same visa, healthcare benefits, inheritance and pension rights as heterosexual spouses once they take a stamped marriage certificate and identification papers to the nearest designated office.
Constitutional Court ruling
In March 2016, a draft of a ruling, considered to be a minority opinion of the Constitutional Court, was published by Judge Jorge Ignacio Pretelt. The draft argued that marriage applied only to one man and one woman and that it was up to Congress to legalize same-sex marriage. On 7 April 2016, the Court voted 6-3 against the proposal. Judge Alberto Rojas Río was assigned to prepare a new proposal, which was expected to be in line with the court majority's view (i.e. to declare that prohibiting same-sex couples from getting married is unconstitutional). The court announced its decision on 28 April 2016, ruling by a 6-3 margin that "marriage between people of the same sex does not violate the constitutional order." The ruling established that every "solemn contract" entered into by same-sex couples since 20 June 2013 (under the provisions of the court's previous ruling in the C-577/2011 case) is legally valid and to be recognised as a marriage, meaning that couples who have entered into such unions since 20 June 2013 need not remarry as a result of the court's April 2016 ruling. The ruling was officially published on 7 July 2016.
Presiding Judge Maria Victoria Calle told the court; "all people are free to choose independently to start a family in keeping with their sexual orientation... receiving equal treatment under the constitution and the law." The court's ruling informed state judges, notaries and clerks that they "must ensure that citizens' fundamental rights are observed and that they are all granted equal treatment."
On 12 July 2016, the Constitutional Court rejected a challenge to the ruling filed by a conservative group opposed to same-sex marriage. In January 2017, the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal filed by former Attorney General Alejandro Ordóñez to nullify the ruling.
In Colombia, civil marriages are performed by notaries and judges. Every marriage performed in Colombia has to be registered with the Registraduría Nacional de Colombia.
According to the Superintendencia de Notariado y Registro, notaries performed 138 same-sex marriages in 2016, 341 in 2017 and 316 in 2018, with Antioquia, Cundinamarca (including Bogotá), Valle del Cauca and Risaralda departments recording the most marriages. By June 2019, 968 same-sex marriages had been performed by notaries in Colombia since legalization; 258 in Bogotá, 240 in Medellín, 92 in Cali, and 79 in Pereira. Six same-sex divorces occurred in 2017 and five in 2018.
A poll conducted between December 2009 and January 2010 in Colombia's capital, Bogotá, showed that 63% of the city's population was in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, while 36% was against it. The poll showed that women and people with a higher education level were more likely to support same-sex marriage.
A nationwide poll taken in November 2012 found that 28% of Colombians supported same-sex marriage, while 66% opposed it and 6% did not respond.
A Gallup national poll conducted in July 2016 showed that 40% of Colombians supported same-sex marriage, while 57% were opposed.
The 2017 AmericasBarometer showed that 34% of Colombians supported same-sex marriage.
A 2018 Gallup poll found that support for same-sex marriage had increased to 46%, with 52% of Colombians opposed.
In October 2019, an Invamer poll showed that support for same-sex marriage had, for the first time ever in Colombia, reached 50%, with 47% opposing. As for same-sex adoption, acceptance was at 36% and opposition at 62%.
- "Primera boda gay en Colombia se realizó en Cali". Radio En Vivo. 24 May 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016.
- "Colombia legalises same-sex marriage". ABC News Australia. 29 April 2016. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016.
- "EL TIEMPO - Corte da primer derecho a parejas gays".
- "Rights for Colombia gay couples". BBC News. 8 February 2007. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
- Colombian court rules in favour of equal rights for gay couples, Pink News, 6 October 2007
- Histórico: Colombia tiene matrimonio homosexual, Pink News, 30 January 2009
- (in Spanish) 42 disposiciones modificó la Corte Constitucional para amparar derechos de las parejas gay,El Tiempo, 29 January 2009. Retrieved on 2 July 2009
- (in Spanish)El Tiempo. Corte explica por qué matrimonio homosexual es decisión del Congreso Archived 6 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Quiroz Monsalvo, Aroldo Wilson (14 December 2020). "SC5040-2020 Radicación n.° 05001-31-10-012-2010-00386-01" (PDF). Supreme Court of Colombia (cortesuprema.gov.co). Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- @CorteSupremaJ (4 January 2021). ""La Sala de Casación Civil de la @CorteSupremaJ señaló que el noviazgo no se transforma en una convivencia de unión marital de hecho, pareja homosexual mantenía una relación fortuita..."". Twitter. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "Se disparan uniones entre homosexuales en el Caribe colombiano". www.eluniversal.com.co. 16 October 2012.
- Forero, Juan (16 July 2007). "Colombia to Recognize Gay Unions With Extension of Health, Other Benefits". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
- Goodman, Joshua (21 June 2007). "Colombia Conservatives Derail Same-Sex Couples Bill". Christian Post. Archived from the original on 30 June 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Ceaser, Mike (26 April 2007). "Gay rights grow in Colombia". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
- "Benedetti radica paquete de proyectos que no dan espera para ser debatidos". Archived from the original on 18 April 2015.
- (in Spanish) N° Senado: 141/15
- (in Spanish) Proyecto de matrimonio y adopción gay divide a la Unidad Nacional Archived 27 April 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- (in Spanish) POR MEDIO DE LA CUAL SE REGULA LA UNION CIVIL ENTRE PAREJAS DEL MISMO SEXO Y SE DICTAN OTRAS DISPOSICIONES
- (in Spanish) Proyecto de Ley “Por medio de la cual se regula la Unión Civil entre parejas del mismo sexo”
- (in Spanish) POR MEDIO DE LA CUAL SE REFORMA LA LEY 1098 DE 2006 EN RELACIÒN CON LA MEDIDA DE PROTECCIÒN DE LA ADOPCIÓN Y SE DICTAN OTRAS DISPOSICIONES
- (in Spanish) Proyecto de Ley “Por medio de la cual se reforma la ley 1098 de 2006 en relación con la medida de protección de la adopción y se dictan otras disposiciones”
- DECISION C-577/11 The homosexuals have the right to form a family
- CNN Wire Staff (27 July 2011). "Colombian court says Congress must decide on gay marriage". CNN. Archived from the original on 13 November 2020. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
- "Hay cuatro proyectos para reglamentar la unión homosexual en el país".
- ""Matrimonio gay" empieza a ser tramitado en Senado". ELESPECTADOR.COM. 24 October 2012.
- Eduardo Garcia and Carlos Vargas (24 April 2013). "Colombia lawmakers reject controversial gay marriage bill". Reuters.
- "Gay marriage bill passes first hurdle - Colombia Politics". Colombia Politics.
- "Resultados de la búsqueda: primera vez comision del congreso aprueba matrimonio gay". Resultados de la búsqueda primera vez comision del congreso aprueba matrimonio gay.
- "Colombia Senate rejects gay marriage bill". Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.
- "Matrimonio igualitario se hunde en Senado". ELESPECTADOR.COM. 24 April 2013.
- (in Spanish) El Espectador. Notarios no podrán argumentar objeción de conciencia en uniones homosexuales. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- (in Spanish) Notarios alistan contrato para la formalización de matrimonios gay
- "Colombia's notaries draft legal document for same-sex civil unions".
- (in Spanish) Homosexuales rechazan unión solemne en notarías y juzgados. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- (in Spanish) Parejas gay acuden a juzgados para pedir que sean unidas en matrimonio. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- (in Spanish) Juez aplica norma del matrimonio civil a pareja gay y cita a contrayentes con dos testigos. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
- "Carlos y Gonzalo, la primera pareja gay "civilmente casada", pero sin matrimonio" (in Spanish). RCN Radio. 24 July 2013. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- Andrew Potts (1 October 2013). "Judges allow first same-sex marriages in Colombia". Gay Star News. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "Rechazan tutela que tumbaba primer matrimonio gay en el país". Eltiempo.Com. 24 October 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
- "CM& la noticia". Archived from the original on 16 October 2015.
- "El 'viacrucis' del matrimonio gay". El viacrucis del matrimonio gay.
- "Corte Constitucional iniciará discusión que anula matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
- "Colombia: en unos 30 días se conocerá fallo matrimonio gay". www.20minutos.com - Últimas Noticias. 30 July 2015.
- (in Spanish) Radican proyectos sobre matrimonio igualitario, adopción gay y eutanasia
- (in Spanish) POR LA CUAL SE ESTABLECE LA INSTITUCIÒN DEL MATRIMONIO PARA PAREJAS DEL MISMO SEXO, SE MODIFICA EL CODIGO CIVIL Y SE DICTAN OTRAS DISPOSICIONES
- (in Spanish) Proyecto de ley "Por la cual se establece la institución del matrimonio para parejas del mismo sexo, se modifica el Código Civil y se dictan otras disposiciones"
- (in Spanish) Congreso inicia esta semana debate del proyecto sobre matrimonios gay
- "Colombian Government Expresses Support for Gay Marriage". The New Indian Express. 15 May 2015.
- "Registran en Colombia el primer matrimonio de pareja del mismo sexo celebrado en el exterior". RCN Radio.
- Lavers, Michael K. (7 April 2016). "Colombia high court rules in favor of same-sex marriage". Washington Blade. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "Comunicado 7 de Abril de 2016" (PDF). Constitutional Court (in Spanish). 7 April 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "Las claves para entender la histórica decisión sobre el matrimonio gay". El Tiempo (in Spanish). 7 April 2016. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- Brodzinsky, Sibylla (8 April 2016). "Colombia's highest court paves way for marriage equality in surprise ruling". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "Corte Constitucional aplaza el fallo sobre matrimonio igualitario". El Heraldo. 21 April 2016.
- "Colombia legalizes same-sex marriage". Deutsche Welle. 28 April 2016.
- "Corte legaliza el matrimonio entre parejas del mismo sexo". W Radio. 28 April 2016.
- "Colombia legalises same-sex marriage". BBC News. 28 April 2016.
- "Listo el formato para el matrimonio de parejas homosexuales en notarias". Caracol Radio. 28 April 2016.
- (in Spanish) Sentencia SU214/16
- "Meet the First Same-Sex Couple Married in Colombia". Advocate. 25 May 2016. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016.
- "Corte Constitucional rechazó petición para tumbar el matrimonio igualitario". ELESPECTADOR.COM. 12 July 2016.
- "¿Ya no nos estamos casando los colombianos?". Señal Colombia (in Spanish). 27 February 2019.
- "341 parejas del mismo sexo contrajeron matrimonio civil en 2017: Supernotariado". Supernotariado (in Spanish).
- "En Colombia se han casado 968 parejas del mismo sexo". RCN Radio (in Spanish). 29 October 2019.
- "En Colombia los matrimonios no duran; el divorcio sigue en aumento". Radio Santa Fe (in Spanish). 1 June 2019.
- "Colombia: Bogotá's first female mayor marries same-sex partner". The Guardian. 17 December 2019.
- Tiempo, Casa Editorial El (26 August 2010). "Los habitantes de Bogotá aprueban el matrimonio homosexual, según encuesta". El Tiempo.
- "Jóvenes rechazan legalización de drogas, aborto y matrimonio gay". 28 November 2012.
- "Social Attitudes on Moral Issues in Latin America - Pew Research Center". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 13 November 2014.
- "Appendix A: Methodology". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 13 November 2014.
- "Gallup: El matrimonio civil entre parejas homosexuales" (in Spanish). Scribd. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
- "CULTURA POLÍTICA DE LA DEMOCRACIA EN LA REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA Y EN LAS AMÉRICAS, 2016/17" (PDF).
- "Gallup poll - Abril 2018" (PDF). Gallup Colombia (in Spanish). p. 82. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
- "25 años de Poll". Invamer (in Spanish). p. 72 and 73. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
- "Sentencia SU214/16". Constitutional Court of Colombia (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 July 2016.