Is Chile’s Prez Pushing Gay Rights To Score In The Polls? Works For Us

If you’re keeping track of countries that are closer than the United States to giving full equality to their gay and lesbian citizens, you might have to add Chile to that list.

On Tuesday, President Sebastian Pinera proposed legislation to recognize gay civil unions, granting them inheritance rights and other privileges currently only given to heterosexual marriages.

“All forms of marriage deserve respect, dignity and the support of the state,” said President Pinera, who signed the proposal and sent it to Congress.

“This puts opposite-sex and same-sex couples on the same footing, because in both cases it is possible to develop love, affection and respect.” [Source: AFP]

Don’t pour the pisco just yet, though: Pinera has repeatedly stated his opposition to full marriage equality.

“I deeply believe that marriage is by nature between a man and a woman, but that conviction does not prevent me from recognizing that other forms of affective relationships exist.”

Leaders from opposition parties, who boycotted the unveiling of the bill, claim Pinera, a conservative and one of the country’s richest men, is only trying to bolster his flagging popularity and appease students, who have been protesting for several months.

Hey, for a country that’s 80% Catholic—and that just officially recognized divorce in 2004—we’re not complaining.

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