Chile court rejects gay marriage appeal

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Chile's Constitutional Court upheld the rejection of a petition by two homosexual couples to register their marriages in Argentina and Canada with the Chilean Civil Registry.

Marriage “is reserved for heterosexual couples and not those of the same sex,” the court ruled.

The decision was in response to an appeal filed by Victor Arce Garcia and Jose Miguel Lillo, together with Stephan Abran and Jorge Manuel Monardez, who were married in Argentina and Canada, respectively.

An official of the Civil Registry had refused to register their marriages because Chile's civil code defines marriage as “a solemn contract by which a man and a woman are joined, actually and indissolubly.”

The couples argued that the official's action “constitutes a serious assault on the right to equality” under the law.

The constitutional court said their demand that the law on civil matrimony be thrown out was not a matter for the court but for the parliament, which should regulate “civil union between two persons, independently of their sexual orientation, including opening the institution of matrimony to persons of the same sex, should it be deemed convenient.”

Chile's President Sebastian Pinera signed a bill in August that regulates de facto unions, including those of homosexual couples, and would recognise relationships between two persons regardless of their sex.

But Pinera has said on numerous occasions that the bill, which is still moving through the legislature, does not recognise civil marriage between two people of the same sex. - Sapa-AFP

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