IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the approval on December 7 of new legislation recognizing same-sex marriage and granting protection to diverse family structures in Chile, which was signed into law on December 9. This approval reflects the commitments made by the State of Chile in the context of the friendly settlement agreement in Petition 946-12—César Antonio Peralta Wetzel and Others v. Chile, filed before the IACHR to allege a lack of access to and recognition for same-sex marriage.
Beyond recognizing same-sex marriage, this new piece of legislation strengthens judicial protection for diverse families, among others by providing safeguards for equality and non-discrimination in the fields of parentage and care. The IACHR highlights the inclusion of pre- and post-natal rest for individuals in employment, without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the repeal of the obligation to divorce for trans persons who exercised their right to rectification of public records.
The Commission commends civil society organizations and defenders of the rights of LGBTI persons in Chile on their efforts to attain equality and non-discrimination in access to legal and social institutions. The IACHR also commends the State on its efforts to ensure approval for this initiative.
The IACHR stressed that the American Convention on Human Rights does not set a closed family concept or protect a single, "traditional" model, as the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said in its decision in the case Atala Riffo and Girls v. Chile. This decision became a major precedent on judicial protection for LGBTI persons and their families.
Along similar lines, the IACHR calls on States to promote reform in legislative, administrative, and judicial matters to adopt inter-American standards. These standards include the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' Advisory Opinion 24/17, which says that States must ensure access—without discrimination—to all categories in domestic legal systems to protect family links, including the right to marriage.
Finally, the Inter-American Commission urges States to promote laws and public policies that recognize and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons, based on their rights to equality and non-discrimination, in efforts to build more inclusive and egalitarian societies that are free from all forms of violence, discrimination, and prejudice.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.