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People attend a gay pride parade to demand for a new law for gender equality after Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sets marriage equality as the government's priority in Santiago, Chile July 1, 2017. © 2017 Reuters

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet says she will make good on a promise at the United Nations a year ago and introduce a bill in parliament on August 28 to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Bachelet’s announcement fulfills a pledge she made at a UN event in September 2016, organized by the UN core group of LGBT-friendly countries and civil society representatives, including Human Rights Watch.

If the bill goes forward, it will be another progressive step for Chile, after its approval this summer of a bill to ease the most restrictive abortion law in Latin America. The Chilean Constitutional Tribunal ruled on August 21 that the new law to end the full criminalization of abortion in Chile was constitutional.

If the marriage equality bill is adopted, Chile will become the sixth country in Latin America where same-sex couples can get married, after Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.

According to media reports, the bill would alter the existing marriage law to read, “Marriage is a solemn contract by which two people, of the same or different sex, unite themselves, and for life, in order to live together, to procreate and to help each other.”

As of August 23, 22 countries have marriage equality. There are now a billion people in countries with marriage equality, out of an estimated world population of 7 billion. In Malta and Germany, marriage equality legislation will come into force in the coming weeks. Chile should keep the momentum going and become number 25.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this dispatch incorrectly stated that 21 countries have marriage equality and Chile would be the 24th country, should it adopt the marriage equality bill.

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