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. South America was the first continent in the world to have a majority of its inhabitants living in a jurisdiction that afforded same-sex couples the right to marry.

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 2015)
(3 countries)
Argentina Argentina 2010[2] 43,590,400
Brazil Brazil 2013[3] 205,574,000
Uruguay Uruguay 2013[4] 3,480,222
Subtotal 252,644,622
(60.5% of the South American population)
Other type of partnership
(3 countries)
Chile Chile 2015[5] 18,191,900
Colombia Colombia 2007[6] 48,509,200
Ecuador Ecuador 2008[7] 16,278,844
Subtotal 82,979,944
(19.9% of the South American population)
Total 335,624,566
(80.4% of the South American population)
No recognition
(4 countries)
Guyana Guyana 746,900
Peru Peru 31,488,700
Suriname Suriname 534,189
Venezuela Venezuela 31,648,930
Subtotal 64,418,719
(15.2% of the South American population)
Constitutional ban on marriage
(3 countries)
Bolivia Bolivia 2009[8] 10,985,059
Ecuador Ecuador 2008[7] 16,278,844
Paraguay Paraguay 1992[9] 6,854,536
Subtotal 34,118,439
(8.1% of the South American population)
Total 98,537,158
(23.3% 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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] The hearing was postponed as some judges were not present and a new hearing open to the public happened on 30 July 2015.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17] A series of polls conducted in 2012 by Vanderbilt University throughout Latin America found the following levels of support for same-sex marriage:[18]

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%[19]
  • 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.[20] 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.[21]
  • Chile: A September 2015 nationwide poll found that 60% of Chileans support marriage between same-sex couples, while 44% support same-sex adoption.[22]
  • 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.[23]
  • 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%.[24]
  • 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%[25]
  • 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.[26]

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. ^ (Spanish) Ley 26.618
  3. ^ (Portuguese) DIÁRIO DA JUSTIÇA CONSELHO NACIONAL DE JUSTIÇA Edição nº 89/2013
  4. ^ (Spanish) Ley Nº 19.075 MATRIMONIO IGUALITARIO
  5. ^ (Spanish) Ley número 20.830. - Crea el Acuerdo de Unión Civil
  6. ^ Decision C-029 of 2009
  7. ^ a b (Spanish) Constituciones de 2008
  8. ^ "Constitución Política del Estado (CPE) (7-Febrero-2009)" (in Spanish). Infoleyes. Retrieved September 15, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Paraguay – Constitution". Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  10. ^ Erlanger, Steven (18 May 2013). "Hollande Signs French Gay Marriage Law". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "El proyecto de ley de matrimonio igualitario llega al Parlamento de Chile". Cáscara Amarga. 2014-12-11. Retrieved 2014-12-11. 
  13. ^ Chilean government to end opposition to same-sex marriage (Washington Blade - February 18 2015)
  14. ^ Corte Constitucional iniciará discusión que anula matrimonios de parejas del mismo sexo
  15. ^ Colombia: en unos 30 días se conocerá fallo matrimonio gay
  16. ^ "Colombian Government Expresses Support for Gay Marriage". The New Indian Express. 15 May 2015. 
  17. ^ Vanderbildt University. Support for Same‐Sex Marriage in Latin America. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  18. ^ Data can be obtained in this link.
  19. ^ Most Argentineans Support Same-Sex Marriage
  20. ^ (Portuguese) Evolução: 50% da população brasileira aprova o casamento gay, diz pesquisa
  21. ^ Quase 60% dos brasileiros são a favor de adoção de crianças por gays
  22. ^
  23. ^ (Spanish) Los habitantes de Bogotá aprueban el matrimonio homosexual, según encuesta
  24. ^ Paraguay: Encuesta revela que solo el 10% de la población está a favor del matrimonio homosexual
  25. ^ (Spanish) ESTUDIO DE OPINIÓN PÚBLICA A NIVEL PERÚ URBANO - Informe de resultados - (5 al 9 de agosto de 2010)
  26. ^ Más de la mitad de los uruguayos está a favor de la autorización del matrimonio homosexual