23 October 2015
Over on the South American continent, Chile is celebrating as same-sex couples can now head on over to the registry offices to enter into legal civil unions.
Hundreds of couples are expected to take advantage of the new laws that guarantee them many, but not all, of opposite-sex married couples.
Government spokesman Marcelo Diaz said the law ‘was unthinkable a few years ago’ in Chile, one of the most Catholic countries in South America.
As many as 2 million people are co-habiting and can now have their unions legally recognized. As many as 1,600 couples have signed up to get a civil union today.
For a conservative Catholic country like Chile (where divorce was only legalized in 2004 and abortion is still banned) its a huge step.
While only a quarter of Chileans support same-sex marriage, a majority is in favour of civil unions with the law gaining cross-party support.
Local equality activists hope that as people get used to the idea of committed same-sex couples in legal unions, it will not be long before Chile joins Argentina and Uruguay in allowing same-sex couples to get married.