Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Progress toward Marriage Equality in Chile

October 3, 2017

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the Chilean administration’s recent introduction of a bill recognizing marriage equality in the country. The bill stems from compliance with a friendly settlement agreement signed in the context of a petition processed by the IACHR—Petition 946-12, Cesar Antonio Peralta Wetzel et al. with regard to Chile. The case involves the lack of access to civil marriage by three same-sex couples in Chile, along with the denial of legal recognition of marriages performed in other countries.

“Chile has recently made strides in defending human rights, such as when it decriminalized abortion on three grounds, and now it is taking another step forward by complying with one of the central points in the friendly settlement agreement, which has to do with ensuring everyone’s right to non-discrimination,” said the IACHR President, Commissioner Francisco Eguiguren, who serves as Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons. “These steps are very significant because they make it possible to move toward a situation in which human rights are respected and guaranteed and where all persons can exercise their rights effectively,” he added.

Through the friendly settlement agreement, the State pledged to take steps to implement non-repetition measures, including bringing a marriage equality bill before the legislature. In the agreement, the State recognized the facts that gave rise to the petitioners’ complaint and acknowledged the need to continue strengthening its institutional foundations to avoid discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex people (LGBTI). The State also recognized the need to improve and adjust its public policies and laws with a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the rights of LGBTI people.

On August 28, 2017, President Michelle Bachelet presided over a ceremony at the seat of government, the Palacio de la Moneda, to introduce the bill to Congress. Also attending were several government officials—including the Minister of Finance, the Minister of the General Secretariat of Government, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, the Minister of Labor and Welfare, the Minister of Social Development, and the Minister of Women and Gender Equity, Claudia Pascual—as well as members of civil society.

Commissioner Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva, the IACHR Rapporteur for Chile, attended the ceremony as a witness of honor representing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. “We congratulate the State of Chile for taking this essential step to respect and guarantee the human rights of all persons, including the rights to family, without any discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” Commissioner Vargas Silva said. “The public ceremony to introduce the bill marks an important step forward in the implementation of the friendly settlement agreement.”

The Commission will continue to monitor the remaining commitments made by the State of Chile in the friendly settlement agreement it signed on the matter of marriage equality, and will continue to support the parties until there has been full compliance with the agreement. The IACHR also underscores the importance of the parties’ joint efforts to promote non-discrimination of LGBTI people in Chile.

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 defense of 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.

No. 151/17