Colombia: High Court Rebukes Inspector General But Doesn’t Clarify Marriage Equality vs. Civil Unions

Written by scott on July 22nd, 2013

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Colombia Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez has been trying to block same sex couples from marrying after a court order to provide them benefits was ignored by the country’s legislature. Buzzfeed reports:

Ordonez had been threatening disciplinary action against any official who took up this authority. His case was based on the fact that the court’s ruling did not specifically say that couples can “marry,” nor did it directly change the law. Instead, it gave congress until June 20, 2013 to change the law to give equal rights to same-sex couples. The 2011 ruling only gives the power directly to judges and notaries because congress failed to act, and ambiguity in the ruling left it unclear whether they will call these unions “marriages” or something else entirely. On Friday, the court rejected Ordonez’s petition for it to clarify that it did not intend to open marriage to same-sex couples. And Constitutional Court President Jorge Ivan Palacio sternly warned Ordonez to “observe the determinations of this Court and monitor their strict and timely compliance.”

It’s still not clear whether this means full marriage equality for Colombia’s gays and lesbians:

Though it shut down Ordonez, it also did not clarify that it intended for couples to have the right to marry. The high court seems to want the issue to percolate more among lower judges and notaries, though it is widely expected to have to revisit the issue.

So we continue to monitor the issue, and Colombian couples are still in limbo. Like the US Supreme Court with Prop 8, the court seems reluctant to make a clear, unambiguous ruling for marriage equality on the merits.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.


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