First gay civil union in Columbia

Judge performs ceremony despite threats from inspector general

Two Colombian men joined in a civil union July 24, becoming the first legally recognized gay couple in that country.

Carlos Hernando Giraldo Rivera and Gonzalo Ruiz performed a discreet civil ceremony in the city of Bogota.

“We are married, we are very happy, and we have the same rights as a married couple in a civil ceremony,” Ruiz told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

Judge Carmen Lucia Rodriguez Diaz agreed to perform the civil union, explaining to the couple that the agreement could not yet legally be called “marriage,” even if it carried all the same legal rights.

A Colombian high court decision in 2011 ordered the Colombian congress to pass laws allowing same-sex unions. Because congress failed to do so, authority to perform unions has fallen directly to judges and local officials.

Colombian Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez has been threatening retribution against any official who uses this authority.

Niko Bell

Niko Bell is a writer, editor and translator from Vancouver. He writes about sexual health, science, food and language.

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