The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) stated that countries in the region should legalize same-sex unions and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond of this nature without any discrimination.
The advisory opinion that marks a historic moment for the region indicates that it is the obligation of States to endorse a growing push for marriage equality allowing patrimonial rights, inheritance, adoption of children, the change of name by "identity" of self-perceived gender ", in addition to agile and effective procedures.
"United Nations Costa Rica congratulates the pronouncement of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and its responsibility to recognize the civil and patrimonial rights of same-sex couples in the country”, declared a statement from the United Nations office in Costa Rica, a country that in 2016 had requested the opinion of the IACHR regarding same sex marriage.
"This pronouncement is mandatory due to the fact that the country has ratified the American Convention on Human Rights in 1969. The principles of equality and non-discrimination are the basis of Human Rights, which need guarantees and affirmative actions and are also principles fundamentals in the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals", the statement added.
Latin America: Between progressive laws and the people's rejection
In recent years, Latin America has made great strides regarding LGBT rights, but there are still some countries that, despite the approval of laws in favor of equal rights, have a population that transgresses the individuality and identity of gender.
Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay are the South American nations that have accepted equal marriage and have extensive laws that protect the rights of gay couples. Ecuador and Chile accept same-sex civil unions and in Mexico, the decision to accept or not gay marriage is granted by each state.
Despite the fact that a large part of Latin American has protection policies for the LGBT community, there are still nations where homophobia and homicides prevail in the face of this condition.
According to statistics presented by America's Quarterly 2016, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica rank as the nations where being gay represents a high possibility of receiving aggressions, being discriminated, or even murdered. On the contrary, Uruguay and Argentina lead the list of the friendliest nations, both in laws and population, with the LGBT community.
Brazil is another country with broad rules in favor of the LGBT community and a strong acceptance and respect. However, every 25 hours a homosexual is killed in the South American nation and in September 2017, a federal judge granted an injunction to allow psychologists to treat homosexuality as a disease which opens up the possibility of performing dangerous "sexual-reversion" therapies.
On the other hand, Paraguay and Bolivia have instituted a constitutional prohibition on marriages between people of the same sex. However, Bolivia allows transgender people to change their name and gender on their ID cards.
Venezuela is also one of the nations that has not progressed when talking about LGBT rights; same sex marriage is not constituted, there are no protection laws, and gender identity changes can not be made in legal documents. According to a survey conducted in 2016 by the International LGBTI Association, in the country of Nicolás Maduro, 9% of the population believes that homosexuality should be a crime and 51% disagree with that posture.
Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto