On April 7th, Colombia’s Constitutional Court defeated a proposal from one of its conservative magistrates that would have barred same-sex couples from marrying on a vote of 6-3.
The LGBT community and many supporters around the country rejoiced, but a successful counter-opinion from another magistrate in favor of expanding the right to marry was needed to make the court order telling Civil Registries and notaries to approve marriage licenses binding.
Today, once again on a vote of 6-3, the Constitutional Court sided with same-sex couples and made Colombia the next country with marriage equality with the finalization of their ruling.
The Court declared same-sex marriage to be a fundamental right and ended the legal battle between the plaintiffs and the Inspector General who sought to annul their marriages after a handful of civil court judges registered the pairs as spouses when they applied for a “solemn union” contract in 2013.
Solemn unions came to Colombia as a result of a 2011 Constitutional Court ruling that gave Colombia’s Congress two years to pass a law recognizing same-sex couples, but the Legislature failed to do so. The ruling then came into effect in 2013 and afforded couples some of the rights of marriage.
The parties who registered the couples and were mentioned in the marriage lawsuit that was studied this month, stated that the 2011 verdict was vague in its usage of “solemn unions” and thus interpreted the couples as married.
Following the publication of today’s ruling, which shall be within 10 days, couples will be able to marry in the next few days and neither registries, notaries, nor judges who handle marriage licenses will be able to use conscientious objection as a reason to turn down applicants.