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[ARCHIVO] President Bachelet: “Chile is taking a historic step by signing the Marriage Equality Bill”

The President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, signed the Marriage Equality Bill this morning. She was accompanied by Minister of Finance Rodrigo Valdés, Minister Secretary General of the Government Paula Narváez, Minister of Justice and Human Rights Jaime Campos, Minister of Labor and Social Security Alejandra Krauss, Minister of Social Development Marcos Barraza and Minister of Women and Gender Equality Claudia Pascual.

“Chile’s history is a long journey down a road of progress, recognition and wellbeing for all of our people. It is a story that has moved forward based on the successive triumphs of rights over arbitrariness, recognition over marginalization, equity over discrimination, freedom over prohibitions and love over prejudice”, President Bachelet said as she opened her remarks.

This bill modifies the definition of marriage contained in Article 102 of the Civil Code, establishing that it is a union of two people and eliminating the reference to a union between a man and a woman, “because denying equality of rights and freedoms for all people based on their sex, race, nationality, sexual orientation or gender identity is much more than outdated. It is simply inexcusable. In view of this, in April 2015, we took an enormous step forward by approving the Civil Union Agreement, which recognized those who live together as what they are: families and couples, regardless of the gender of their members”, she stated.

President Bachelet then referred to the historical importance of this legal initiative: “We do this in order to make good on our promise to Chile and the world. We do it with the belief that equality does not allow for shades of grey or prejudices. We do it with the certainty that it is not ethical or just to place artificial limits on love or deny essential rights based solely on the gender of the partners. We do this to guarantee an act of essential justice: that those who wish to share their lives can do so as they wish, with full freedom, pride and happiness”.

The President also explained that same sex couples will now be able to adopt children because “a family is more than names, and more than how money is managed: it is the opportunity for the emotional connection between a couple to be passed down to future generations and for the values, beliefs and legacy of a marriage to live on through their children. That means that a child will be able to be adopted equally by a heterosexual or same sex couple based solely on their status as a married couple. It will not be necessary to modify the Adoption Law”.

At the end of her speech, the President stated that she is confident that “Congress will be ready for this discussion, that it will complement and enrich the exchange of ideas and the bill, and that -above all else- it will recognize what Chile expects from its government authorities: the capacity to extend the scope of rights to all people, men and women, regardless of who they love or the gender with which they identify. Because the only way that we can build a country that is more just for all of us is through the full exercise of all of our freedoms”.

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