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Colombia's Yes To Gay Marriage

03 May 2016

Over on the South American continent, Colombia became the fourth country to allow same-sex marriage when its constitutional court definitively legalised it late last week.

The mainly Catholic country follows Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in formally recognising the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

"The judges affirmed by a majority that marriage between people of the same sex does not violate constitutional order," presiding Judge Maria Victoria Calle told the court.

"The current definition of the institution of marriage in civil law applies to them in the same way as it does for couples of the same sex."

Although previous rulings allowed gay couples to formalise their unions before notaries and judges, same-sex marriage had remained a legal grey area and appeals had been launched against it.

Many officials had refused to register such marriages since congress failed to pass legislation enshrining equal marriage rights in law, prompting protests from gay-rights campaigners.

On April 7, the constitutional court dismissed a petition against equal marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples.

That paved the way for last weeks's historic ruling, which definitively establishes that the constitution guarantees such equality, giving gay couples the legal right to marry.

The decision is set to be recorded as an irrevocable constitutional ruling within a month, making it legally valid.

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