[JURIST] Colombia's Congress approved legislation giving same-sex couples who have cohabited for over a period of two years similar rights as regular common law marriages Thursday, which will guarantee equal rights in areas such as welfare benefits and property inheritance. The measure, opposed by the Roman Catholic church but supported by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official website in Spanish; BBC profile], will not allow same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] or allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
In February, the Constitutional Court of Colombia [official website] invalidated [summary; JURIST report] 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 Rodringo Escobar Gil wrote that the law went "against the constitutional principles of respect for human dignity, [and] the state's duty to protect all persons equally and the fundamental right to freely develop one's personality." Reuters has more.