Colombia Grants Equal Rights to Same-Sex Couples

The Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled this week that same-sex couples must be granted equal rights as heterosexual couples in common law marriages.

The historic decision comes after the court had approved a string of similar rulings that won same-sex couples rights. In February of 2007, a law was passed allowing same-sex couples property rights and in June, a bill was passed that gave equal health insurance rights and allowed a surviving gay partner to inherit shared assets.

With the latest decision, many more rights will be extended to same-sex couples, effectively granting them equal rights as heterosexual common-law couples in Colombia. The only other South American country to grant same-sex couples rights is Uruguay.

The Colombian
LGBT rights group Colombia Diversa, human rights group
Dejusticia, and the Group for Public Interest Rights from
the University of the Andes were responsible for the
successful suit, which was originally filed last April.

Marcela Sanchez, the head of Colombia Diversa, told the BBC, "Laws are not enough, an important cultural shift is needed for discrimination to end."