Colombia inches closer towards making gay unions equivalent to marriage

.- Colombia’s Congress took another step this week towards making homosexual unions equivalent to marriage by approving a law that grants special rights to same-sex couples.

Approved by a vote of 62-43, the new law allows homosexual partners to leave their inheritance, health insurance and social security benefits to each other instead of to their closest relatives.

In order to meet the law’s requirements, homosexual partners only need to declare their union before a state official and be together for at least two years.

Marcela Sanchez, president of “Diverse Colombia,” a gay-rights group that pushed for the new law, called the measure a “first step” towards full legal recognition of homosexual marriage.

“There is still a whole gamut of rights restricted still to marriage such as maternity licenses, paternal rights, housing subsidies and adoption,” Sanchez said.

The law must still be signed by President Alvaro Uribe, who will have the last word on whether Colombia becomes the first Latin American nation to legalize homosexual couples at the national level.

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