SANTIAGO, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Chileans Javier Silva and Jaime Nazar, a couple for six years, have long wanted a wedding to complete their family and give them full legal status as parents, but conservative rules in the South American nation stymied the two men’s plans.
Now, finally they can start sending out invitations.
Chilean lawmakers legalized same-sex marriage on Tuesday following more than a decade of legal campaigns to change the rules as social mores shift in the largely Catholic country. The bill itself was first sent to Congress in 2017.
“Today is an exceptional day for us,” Silva, a 38-year-old industrial engineer told Reuters in Santiago, where the couple had recently arrived back with their newborn daughter Lola from a surrogate mother in Colombia.
“Our daughter was born three weeks ago. She arrived in Chile and, with the new law that has just been approved, for us it is the best scenario,” he said, adding the same-sex bill would allow both partners to be recognized as legal parents.
“Before only one of us had the rights and responsibilities.”
The couple, civil partners for three years, also have a 1-year-old son Clemente, from a surrogate mother.
Civil unions have been permitted in Chile since 2015 but do not afford all the benefits of marriage, like the right to adoption.
Silva’s partner Nazar, 38, a dental surgeon, said the change ensures a stable legal future for the family.
“At last, we will be able to be recognized as a family before the state. For many, it may sound very obvious and it does not matter, but for us it is a super important issue,” he said.
“It’s for the protection of our children, for their future, not only for us but for all other families other there.”