On a vote of 6-3, Colombia’s Constitutional Court has extended marriage equality to the South American country.
The marriage case began in 2013 after several civil court judges registered “solemn unions” between same-sex couples as marriages.
A previous ruling in 2011 gave Congress two years to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples, but as the Legislature did not approve a bill, couples in Colombia won the ability to register their unions in 2013 when the ruling went into effect.
After some civil court judges registered the marriages in 2013, Colombia’s Inspector General asked the higher courts to intervene and annul the nuptials and the issue found its way to the 9 magistrates of the Constitutional Court.
A conservative magistrate wrote his opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman and that same-sex couples should retain the solemn union scheme. He also argued that is should be Congress who changes the matrimonial laws and not the Court. The plenary voted 6-3 to reject his opinion and then turned to a counter-opinion from another magistrate in favor of extending marriage rights.
A Constitutional Court memo says that the counter-opinion will be voted on in the next session and a similar 6-3 verdict in favor of same-sex marriage is expected. Either way, marriage equality already prevailed today and the vote is mostly seen as a formality.
The Constitutional Court made Colombia the next country with marriage equality by ordering Civil Registries to serve any couple who requests a marriage license and warned that not even judges can deny the celebration of equal marriage rights in the country.