Chilean President Sebastian Piñera said on June 1 that he would push for the same-sex marriage bill that has been stalled for years in Congress, surprising and drawing criticism from his conservative allies.
“I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country. For these reasons, we announce that we will urgently implement the bill that has been in Congress for years and that establishes equal marriage among all our compatriots,” Piñera said during his annual State of the Union address.
“All people, regardless of sexual orientation, will have the right to live, love, and form a family, with all the protection and dignity that they need and deserve,” Piñera further said.
Piñera’s remarks sparked strong criticism from members of his coalition, maintaining that marriage was between a man and woman.
Equal marriage “is an issue that divides us as a society and as a coalition. At a time when we need unity, it does not seem prudent to bring issues that divide us to the fore,” Senator Luz Ebensperger said, as quoted by the Movement for Integration and Liberation Homosexual (Movilh).
Meanwhile, Chamber of Deputies President Diego Paulsen said he will study the bill to either vote for or against it once it reaches the Chamber.
“I believe in the freedom of people. I believe in love between people, and I am not who, even when I profess a certain religion, to be against a certain project,” Paulsen said, as quoted by Movlih.
Movilh, a group that campaigns for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, praised Piñera’s announcement, calling it “a milestone for the political right.”
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