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Colombia+Legalizes+Same-Sex+Marriage
Friday, 29 April 2016 - 14:44
Colombia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
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Colombia has become the fourth South American country to allow same-sex marriage after a ruling by the country's constitutional court.

The Catholic country follows Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay in formally recognizing the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

Although previous rulings allowed gay couples to formalize their unions before notaries and judges, same-sex marriage had remained a legal grey area and appeals had been launched against it.

Many officials had refused to register such marriages since congress failed to pass legislation enshrining equal marriage rights in law — prompting protests from gay rights campaigners.

On April 7, the constitutional court dismissed a petition against equal marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples.

That paved the way for Thursday's ruling, which definitively establishes that the constitution guarantees such equality, giving gay couples the legal right to marry.

The decision is set to be recorded as an irrevocable constitutional ruling within a month, making it legally valid.

Six of the court's nine judges approved the ruling that "all people are free to choose independently to start a family in keeping with their sexual orientation... receiving equal treatment under the constitution and the law."

State judges, notaries and clerks "must ensure that citizens' fundamental rights are observed and that they are all granted equal treatment," the court ruled, foreign media reports.

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