Colombia Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

It's the fourth South American country to do so behind Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

The Colombian Constitutional Court declared that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional in a 6-3 decision issued Friday, fully legalizing same-sex marriage and restoring benefits to same-sex couples who are already married.

The rights of married same-sex couples in Colombia have been in limbo for years as the Constitutional Court and Congress fought over which should make the decision.

Since 2007, a number of laws were passed in the country that granted things like adoption, pension, health care, and social security rights to same-sex couples, though the government only recognized those relationships as common-law marriages.

“The right to marry and to form a family are fundamental rights that States must protect. Limiting marriage to heterosexual couples violates the right to nondiscrimination and equality,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch Americas Division, in an impassioned speech before the court.

“The court’s decision to grant all Colombians, regardless of their sexual orientation, the right to marry the people they love is a landmark move for human rights in the country.”

Couples will be able to marry in as little as 10-30 days, after the court’s ruling is published.

Matthew Tharrett is a writer, filmmaker, and above all else, a Britney fan. He once shared a milkshake with Selena Gomez.