Written by Staff Writer
By Matthew Bodner, CNN Santiago, Chile
Chile’s Congress has voted to legalize same-sex marriage, alongside a host of other LGBT-inclusive social policies.
The adoption of the legislation brings the South American country closer to becoming the 12th country in the world to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.
Currently, same-sex couples in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, England, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Spain have legal right to marry, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
Same-sex marriage is legal in Puerto Rico
Chile’s Electoral Court approved a law in 2015 enabling same-sex couples to adopt children.
The legislation put forward by the private Solidaridad, or Solidarity, Party makes same-sex marriage legal in a move seen as an election promise by President Michelle Bachelet.
The opposition group Dissatisfied Persons Party blocked the legislation for the past three years, but has dropped its objections as the electoral court returned the bill to Congress this week.
As the adoption was made official, the lower house approved a series of social reforms, including a bill allowing for abortion, which is currently only allowed in cases of rape and risk to the mother’s life.
Gladys Beddia, president of Solidaridad, said the new law was the next step for the progressive movement in Chile, which is “already one of the most open, tolerant, and well-integrated nations in Latin America.”
The Marriage and Family Law is expected to take effect in two years.
“I hope that the church is no longer a threat to marriage equality in Chile,” said one of the dissenting members, lawmaker Jose Maria Chi, who represents the bloc of the conservative group Pastoros Para la Unidad.