100,000 March For Marriage Equality, Transgender Rights In Chile

Tens of thousands of activists on Saturday joined a protest in Santiago, Chile to demand passage of laws that would extend marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and protect transgender people.

According to organizer the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh), 100,000 people attended the protest. Demonstrators marched from Plaza Italia to Plaza Los Heroes, where a cultural and political festival lasted into the night, news service EFE reported.

The government of President Michelle Bachelet backs these reforms and has introduced legislation. The administration agreed to introduce a marriage equality bill last year after Movilh filed a lawsuit with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of three gay couples who are seeking to marry in Chile.

Debate on the bill is expected to begin Monday.

But Bachelet’s term in office is coming to a close and a leading candidate to replace her, former President Sebastian Pinera, is opposed to the changes.

Pinera will face Alejandro Guillier in a second round of voting on December 17. Guillier said that he participated in Saturday’s march with the aim of “defending the inclusive and diverse Chile that we dream of.”

Movilh’s Rolando Jimenez said that discrimination against transgender people creates “problems at work, education and in the families,” and that this “vicious circle of vulnerability” must be broken.

Movilh said that the bill on transgender protections has stalled due to a lack of political will.

Since 2015, Chile has recognized gay couples with civil unions.

by Carlos Santoscoy
Source – On Top Magazine