Recognition of same-sex unions in South America

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Recognition of same-sex unions in South America
  Other type of partnership
  Unrecognized or unknown
  Same-sex marriage banned
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Legal status of same-sex unions
  1. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage
  2. When performed in the Netherlands proper

* Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

Debate has occurred throughout South America over proposals to legalize same-sex marriage as well as civil unions.

Currently 6 of the 12 sovereign counteries in South America recognize some type of same-sex unions. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. An additional three countries have a form of civil union or registered partnership, namely Chile, Colombia and Ecuador.

Sex between women is legal in the entire region, while sex between men is illegal only in Guyana,[1] not to be confused with French Guiana.

Current situation[edit]

National level[edit]

Status Country Legal since Country population
(Last Census estimate 2012)
(3 countries)
Argentina Argentina[citation needed] 2010 42,192,500
Brazil Brazil[citation needed] 2013 201,032,714
Uruguay Uruguay[citation needed] 2013 3,368,595
Subtotal 246,593,809
(60.7% of the South American population)
Other type of partnership
(3 countries)
Chile Chile[citation needed] 2015 16,634,603
Colombia Colombia [2] 2007 47,121,089
Ecuador Ecuador[citation needed] 2009 15,761,731
Subtotal 79,517,423
(19.6% of the South American population)
Total 326,111,232
(80.3% of the South American population)
No recognition
(3 countries)
Guyana Guyana 784,894
Peru Peru 30,475,144
Suriname Suriname 543,000
Subtotal 31,803,038
(7.8% of the South American population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
(4 countries)
Bolivia Bolivia[citation needed] 2009 10,027,254
Ecuador Ecuador[citation needed] 2009 15,761,731
Paraguay Paraguay[citation needed] 1992 6,672,633
Venezuela Venezuela[citation needed] 1999 31,648,930
Subtotal 48,365,309
(15.8% of the South American population)
Total 80,151,855
(23.6% of the South American population)

Sub-national level[edit]

Status Country Jurisdiction Legal since
(1 jurisdiction)
France France 2013
Other type of partnership
(1 jurisdiction)
Venezuela Venezuela 2010
No recognition
(1 jurisdiction)
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Future legislation[edit]


Government proposals or proposals with a parliamentary majority[edit]

Chile Chile On 10 December 2014, a group of senators from various parties joined LGBT rights group MOVILH in presenting a bill to allow same-sex marriage and adoption to Congress.[3] On 17 February 2015, lawyers representing the Government and the LGBT rights group MOVILH met to discuss an amicable solution to the same-sex marriage lawsuit before the Inter-American Commission Of Human Rights. The Government announced that they would drop their opposition to same-sex marriage. A formal agreement will be signed in April and the case will still continue according to MOVILH's lawyer who stated that the lawsuit will live on until Chile enacts the law.[4]

Colombia Colombia The same-sex marriage issue will now once again come before the Constitutional Court and a hearing was scheduled for 7 May 2015.[5] The hearing was postponed as some judges were not present and a new hearing open to the public happened on 30 July 2015. A verdict will be reached before 31 August 2015.[6] In May 2015, Colombian Interior Minister Juan Fernando Cristo announced the Colombian Government's support for a move to recognise same-sex marriage. He made the statement the day after a multi-country same-sex couple began an unprecedented legal battle to have their 2013 marriage (registered in Spain) recognised in Colombia.[7]

Public opinion[edit]

Public support for same-sex marriage varies from country to country. Polls have found support to be higher between younger people, women, city inhabitants and people with a higher education level.[8] A series of polls conducted in 2012 by Vanderbilt University throughout Latin America found the following levels of support for same-sex marriage:[9]

Other polls[edit]

  • Argentina: A November 2009 poll conducted in the six biggest cities of Argentina found support for same-sex marriage at 63.3%, opposition was at 23.1%[10]
  • Brazil: A July 2012 nationwide poll revealed that 50% of Brazilians were in favor of the Supreme Court decision that expanded civil unions to same-sex couples. Women, younger people and Catholics were more in favor of gay marriage then the rest of the country.[11] Another poll released in March 2013 showed that 47% of the population was in favor of same-sex marriage, while 57% of Brazilians were in favor of same-sex couples adopting children.[12]
  • Chile: A July 2011 nationwide poll found that 52% of Chileans were in favor of granting legal rights to same-sex unions: 18% supported granting civil marriage to gay couples, while 34% preferred giving same-sex couples a "legal union".[13]
  • Colombia: A poll conducted between December 2009 and January 2010 in Colombia's capital, Bogota, showed that 63% of the city's population was in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage while 36% was against it.[14]
  • Paraguay: A poll conducted by a Christian Newspaper after the approval of same-sex marriage legislation in Argentina showed support for same-marriage at 10% and opposition at 76%.[15]
  • Peru: In August 2010, a poll revealed 21.3% of Peruvians approved same-sex marriage, 71.5% were against it. Support in younger people was higher at 31.9%[16]
  • Uruguay: A nationwide poll conducted in November 2011 found support for same-sex marriage at 52%, while only 32% of the population was against it.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ottosson, Daniel (May 2012). "State-sponsored Homophobia: A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults" (PDF). International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). Retrieved 2013-05-07. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "El proyecto de ley de matrimonio igualitario llega al Parlamento de Chile". Cáscara Amarga. 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  4. ^ Chilean government to end opposition to same-sex marriage (Washington Blade - February 18 2015)
  5. ^ Corte Constitucional iniciará discusión que anula matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo
  6. ^ Colombia: en unos 30 días se conocerá fallo matrimonio gay
  7. ^ "Colombian Government Expresses Support for Gay Marriage". The New Indian Express. 15 May 2015. 
  8. ^ Vanderbildt University. Support for Same‐Sex Marriage in Latin America. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  9. ^ Data can be obtained in this link.
  10. ^ Most Argentineans Support Same-Sex Marriage
  11. ^ (Portuguese) Evolução: 50% da população brasileira aprova o casamento gay, diz pesquisa
  12. ^ Quase 60% dos brasileiros são a favor de adoção de crianças por gays
  13. ^ "Estudio Nacional de Opinión Pública, Junio-Julio 2011. Tema especial: Educación". Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  14. ^ (Spanish) Los habitantes de Bogotá aprueban el matrimonio homosexual, según encuesta
  15. ^ Paraguay: Encuesta revela que solo el 10% de la población está a favor del matrimonio homosexual
  16. ^ (Spanish) ESTUDIO DE OPINIÓN PÚBLICA A NIVEL PERÚ URBANO - Informe de resultados - (5 al 9 de agosto de 2010)
  17. ^ Más de la mitad de los uruguayos está a favor de la autorización del matrimonio homosexual