Chile’s Civil Registry made an exception last month to its ongoing strike to perform the country’s first civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples. After 12 years of debate in the Chilean Parliament, President Michelle Bachelet signed the Civil Union Agreement into law in April, granting cohabitation rights to homosexual and heterosexual couples.
In a country with a historically Catholic majority and socially conservative culture, many Chileans have protested the government’s increasingly liberal social agenda. Activists count the law as a victory in the move toward legalizing same-sex marriage. A survey in September showed 60% of Chileans support same-sex couples’ right to marry, up from 50% last year. Supporters see civil unions as a step toward a more modern and tolerant society.
High-profile evangelical pastor Javier Soto has vocally opposed homosexual advances in society, including the recent release of a book called Nicolás Has Two Dads. Soto’s opposition provoked the leader of the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (Movimiento de Integración y Liberación Homosexual), Rolando Jiménez, to urge evangelical Christians “not to allow themselves to be deceived by these pastors who offend and hurt people just for being different than the majority.” Read more via World Mag