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Colombia judge orders notary to perform same-sex marriage

A Colombian appeals judge on Saturday ordered a notary to marry a same-sex couple, following the couples' appeal after the notary refused to marry them on June 20. In the decision [AFP report], Judge Campo Elias Cordoba stated that marriage was the only contractual option that would give the plaintiffs their intended outcome. The couple will be married on Monday, following the notary's statement that he will abide by the ruling. The first legally recognized same-sex marriage in Colombia took place last week after a judge in Bogota ruled [AP report] that a same-sex couple was "legally joined," with all the resulting rights.

In 2011 the Constitutional Court of Colombia [official website, in Spanish] ruled [press release] unanimously that same-sex couples are "families" under the law and their relationships cannot be invalidated nor can same-sex marriage be made illegal, but gave the Colombian Congress two years to legislate same-sex marriage rather than declaring it outright constitutional. The bill, however, failed to pass in the Senate. In 2008 the court held that same-sex couples should be given the same pension and health benefits [JURIST report] as those held by opposite-sex couples. In its decision [press release], the court said that to exclude same-sex couples from receiving such benefits would undermine their fundamental right to human dignity and equal protection of the laws. The previous year the Colombian Senate voted against landmark legislation [JURIST report] that would have given same-sex couples who have cohabited for over a period of two years similar rights as persons in heterosexual common law marriages. Earlier, the court ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex couples must be accorded the same property rights as other unmarried couples.

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