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Inter-American Court of Human Rights endorses same-sex marriage

[JURIST] The Inter-American Court of Human Rights [official website] on Wednesday issued a unanimous advisory opinion [text, PDF, in Spanish] that member states "must recognize and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex."

The ruling establishes [press release, PDF] that couples in same-sex marriages have the same family and financial rights as heterosexual couples. Due to the difficulty in passing such laws in countries where there is strong opposition to same-sex marriage, the court recommended that governments pass temporary decrees until new legislation was brought in. The court reasoned that opposition to same-sex marriage is generally based on religious or philosophical convictions and that these, while important, cannot supervene human dignity and autonomy.

The court considered the issue based Costa Rica's 2016 request that it interpret the obligations of Organization of American States [official website] members to same-sex couples. In March the court heard the oral presentations [official video] of 40 delegations from member states, nonprofits and advocacy groups. The ruling is likely to face strong opposition from the Catholic Church, Protestant Churches and member states that have voiced opposition to the ruling. Currently same-sex marriage is legal [BBC report] in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the US, Uruguay, and certain provinces of Mexico, with Ecuador allowing same-sex civil unions.

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