Same-Sex Unions Not On the Table After All?

Despite last week’s report that Venezuelan legislator Romelia Matute would push through a bill to legally recognize same-sex unions, and rumors that President Hugo Chavez would back the measure, the latest news is less celebratory. Family, Women and Youth Commission chair Marelys Pérez held a presser contradicting her colleague’s announcement that the upcoming gender equality bill would include language about gay coupling.

But yesterday, Marelys Pérez – the Commission’s President – denied that any such language was being considered as part of the gender equality bill and said that the National Assembly was not ready to legislate on same-sex unions or same-sex partners living together.

Accoridng to El Tiempo, Pérez said that she had decided to make a public statement to express concern that national and international press were reporting that the National Assembly and the Venezuelan government would legally recognize same-sex unions.

“The ‘Organic Law for Gender Equity and Equality’ Act establishes respect for those who those who have a sexual option, safeguards their human rights, calls for no discrimination, but it is something different than granting legal [recognition] to homosexual unions,” she said, “that is not the objective of this law.”

When she was reminded that it was another Commission member who had set the ball rolling by indicating that same-sex partnerships would advance as part of the bill, Pérez replied that Assemblymember Matute had spoken about a personal initiative that had yet to be taken under consideration and which did not involve the National Assembly as an institution.

According to Cadena Global, Pérez said that the Commission would debate the same-sex partnership rights initiative but that they would leave it out of the current bill and probably wait for reforms to the Civil Code or a future anti-discrimination bill.

The bill as currently drafted would still grant “the right of every person to live a pleasurable, responsible and freely decided sexuality, and the capacity of exercising a sexual orientation and identity without discrimination and in conditions of equality”, according to the paper.