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First recognized same-sex union in Colombia

Timothy Kincaid

July 25th, 2013

El Tiempo (Google Translate)

On Wednesday, for the first time in Colombia, a judge declared civilly married to a same-sex couple.

Carlos Hernando Giraldo Rivera and Gonzalo Ruiz signed an unnamed civil contract in court Bogotá municipal civil 67 consisting of a voluntary agreement to form a family.

Carlos, 57, and Gonzalo, 44, acquired the same rights as civil law provides for heterosexual couples in the marriage contract.

Both are committed to comply with all obligations under that provision for couples, to join through marriage.

[Este miércoles, por primera vez en Colombia, una jueza declaró civilmente casados a una pareja del mismo sexo.

Carlos Hernando Rivera y Gonzalo Ruiz Giraldo firmaron un contrato civil innominado ante el juzgado 67 civil municipal de Bogotá consistente en un acuerdo de voluntades para formar una familia.

Carlos, de 57 años y Gonzalo, de 44, adquirieron los mismos derechos que contempla la ley civil para las parejas heterosexuales en el contrato del matrimonio.

Ambos se comprometieron a cumplir todas las obligaciones previstas en dicha norma para las parejas, que se unan a través del casamiento.]

There is disagreement over what the legal procedure is to be called. The trial judge insisted to them that it could never be called a marriage and a former Constitutional Court President has argued the same to the press. However, activists and the couple are using the term.

The legal rights of marriage became available to same-sex couples through the failure of the legislature to act. In July 2011 the Constitutional Court found it unconstitutional to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples and gave the legislature a deadline of June 20th of this year. That date passed without the legislature agreeing upon a structure by which to achieve rights, and so earlier this month a judge in Bogota ruled that same-sex couples could avail themselves of the rights and obligations of marriage.

What this contract is to be called may be determined by the Constitutional Court, but as the legislature has not created a civil union or other comparable structure, it may be judicially deemed to be the only legal structure that exists, a civil marriage.

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