First same-sex couples marry in Chile under new law: “We never thought we would see this moment”
Two same-sex couples were the first Thursday to legally tie the knot in Chile, which joined a handful of countries in majority-Catholic Latin America to allow LGBTQ couples to marry. They can now adopt children, too, under a law passed by Congress in December and signed by outgoing President Sebastian Pinera.
“We never thought we would have this moment in Chile,” said Jaime Nazar, 39, proudly after marrying his seven-year partner Javier Silva, 38, in a suburb of Santiago.
The couple’s two young children were present at the historic event.
“Well, yeah, we can say we’re family,” Silva said.
“Our children have the same conditions (as those of heterosexual couples) and will have a better future without discrimination because they have two fathers who love each other,” he added.
Silva carried the couple’s 18-month-old son in his arms while Nazar gave birth to their four-month-old daughter.
The children are the product of surrogacy abroad using the sperm of one of the two couples. Previously, they had only one legally recognized father – the biological donor.
“A very important step for the country”
From 2015 to Thursday, same-sex couples who wanted to formalize their relationship had only the option of civil partnership agreements, which confer most of the same rights as marriage but without the option of legal adoption.
“This is a very important step for the country. We are very proud and privileged to be here,” said Nazar, who is a dentist.
Consuelo Morales and Pabla Heuser, both 38, said they decided to marry mainly because of their two-year-old daughter Josefa.
“Today, Josefa is no longer an illegitimate daughter,” Morales said. Heuser, who carried the child in her stomach, was previously the girl’s sole legal parent.
In total, three same-sex weddings took place in Chile on Thursday, the day the law went into effect.
It came on the eve of leftist Gabriel Boric’s swearing-in as Chile’s youngest-ever president.
Chile had been waiting for passage of marriage law ever since then-President Michelle Bachelet sent it to Congress in 2017.
Surprisingly, her conservative successor, Pinera, announced last year that he would seek urgent passage of the bill through Congress, backed by a majority of Chileans.
Pinera signed it just two days after lawmakers gave the green light ahead of the presidential election in which Boric and his far-right rival Jose Antonio Kast voted head-to-head.
Kast vehemently opposed extending access to marriage rights, in contrast to Boric, who supported the move.
Chile is now one of 30 countries in the world to allow same-sex marriage and seven in Latin America, along with Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and some states in Mexico.