Bolivia to legalize same-sex marriage before France?

Journalist Bruno Bimbi seems to think it’s possible, thanks to the introduction of a same-sex marriage bill in the Bolivian legislature by a senator from President Evo Morale’s Movimiento al Socialismo party, Hilda Saavedra Serrano.

Saavedra Serrano, who represents the city of Potosí, is proposing legislation to eliminate an apparent contradiction in the Bolivian constitution: On the one hand, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (as part of a long list of protected categories); but, on the other, it expressly defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

In his article on Saavedra Serrano’s bill, Bimbi suggests that this showed the “magical hand of the church” in eleventh-hour machinations. The draft constitution agreed to by the 2007 constitutional assembly draft included no mention of gender in its marriage clause. It was inserted by a special committee before it went up for ratification by plebiscite.

Saavedra Serrano’s bill “reinterprets” the constitution that says the marriage clause does not “prohibit nor limit the fundamental rights set out in the [other] constitutional article,” and that rights of civil marriages “can be exercised by couples comprised of people of different sexes or the same sex, equal in rights and constitutional guarantees.”

If you know Spanish, the senator’s bill is worth a read. She draws on Bolivian law, international convention, and indigenous history to make her case.

I don’t know whether it has a chance of passage, but it’s certainly a mind-bender to imagine Bolivia having more radical marriage laws than US or countries in Western Europe.



One thought on “Bolivia to legalize same-sex marriage before France?

  1. Pingback: Why Latin America is beating the U.S. to marriage equality | After Marriage

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