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Colombia court legalizes same-sex inheritance rights

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Colombia [official website] has ruled [summary] that same-sex couples must be accorded the same property rights as other unmarried couples. With eight votes in favor and one abstention, the court held unconstitutional a 1990 law creating a presumption that property held by "a man and a woman" who lived together in de facto marriage for at least two years was held in common. Judge Rodrigo Escobar Gil wrote that limiting the law to heterosexual couples "goes against the constitutional principles of respect for human dignity, the state's duty to protect all persons equally and the fundamental right to freely develop one's personality. In the light of the Constitution [text], all human beings, as bearers of the inherent dignity of persons, require the same protection from the state . . ." According to the abstaining judge, the ruling did not go far enough in enumerating the rights of same-sex couples.

While the ruling allows homosexual couples to inherit the property of a deceased partner, it does not address the legality of same-sex unions, a question that is currently before the Colombian Parliament. BBC News has more. El Universo has local coverage [in Spanish].

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