Chile apologizes to lesbian mother

Karen Atala. Photo by Kena Lorenzini.

In a rather incredible ceremony Friday, the government of Chile apologized to Karen Atala, a lesbian mother who sued in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, to retain custody of her children. The ceremony was led by Chile’s chief justice with several other senior government officials present.

If you missed it (as I did because I was stuck in Mexico City traffic…), the video is here. More on the significance of Atala’s case—which established that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a violation of the American Convention on Human Rights—is here.

The apology was made under court order, but it’s amazing to note how much LGBT politics have shifted in Chile since Atala brought her suit. Continue reading

Why Latin America is beating the U.S. to marriage equality

There’s been a lot of surprise in the American media following yesterday’s ruling from the Mexican Supreme Court striking down a ban on same-sex marriage—how is it that a Catholic country in Latin America is way ahead of the United States on gay marriage?

If we paid a little more attention to our hemisphere, we really wouldn’t be that surprised: there’s been an LGBT rights revolution in Latin America that has well surpassed us.

John Aravosis, for example, voices incredulity at this fact over at AMERICAblog:

I never cease to be amazed at how many countries, and which countries, around the world are ahead of the US on this basic civil and human right. I grew up being taught that America was the greatest and freest country on earth…. I’m still blown away that in traditionally Catholic countries, and Latin countries to boot, marriage equality is proceeding ahead of the US.

To review where things stand in Latin America:

  • The first country to legalize marriage through legislative action was Argentina, which passed an Equal Marriage law in 2010. Several municipalities have started performing weddings for foreign couples, making it an engine for advancing same-sex marriage across South America. I took an in-depth look at how this was possible here, here, and here. Continue reading