Same-sex marriage can now take place in Chile at British Consulates after the passing of ‘The Consular Marriage and Marriages under Foreign Law Order 2014’ which went into effect on last Tuesday June 3rd.
This recently enacted law allows same-sex marriage to take place in 23 countries at British Consulates. It allows British citizens in foreign countries and their partners to get married abroad. According to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the countries include Chile, as well as Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Costa Rice, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, and Vietnam.
The list of countries where the order was enacted depends on two factors. First, the countries must not already allow marriage for British citizens. Secondly, the law must be approved by the local authorities.
This new order was not met without opposition. In China, the Hong Kong government completely barred the British Consulates in Hong Kong from conducting marriages, despite China’s earlier consent. In Australia, there is debate whether or not the marriages at British Consulates will be recognized under Australian law.
In South America, Uruguay and Argentina have already legalized same-sex marriage. Brazil allows gay couples to acquire marriage licenses while Columbia recognizes civil unions. However in Chile, neither same-sex marriage nor adoption by same-sex couples is legal.
Chilean president Michelle Bachelet ran in support of same-sex marriage during her two campaigns, but it is still not clear how much progress she will make in Chile. In January 2014, a civil-rights bill, Acuerdo de Vida en Pareja, passed the Senate in Chile and is now pending. This bill has the potential to grant Chileans the right to same-sex marriage.
Legalization of same-sex marriage is slowly spreading and becoming more accepted around the world. Approximately 14 countries have completely legalized same-sex marriage, while others recognize civil unions.