[JURIST] Chilean President Michelle Bachelet [Forbes profile] signed a law on Monday that recognizes civil unions between same-sex couples, a move hailed by advocates as a step toward full marriage rights. The law, which will take effect in six months, gives same-sex and unmarried couples the right to inherit each other’s property, join one another’s health plans and receive pension benefits. “This ends the monopoly of having to recognize unions, families, as just within marriage,” said Rolando Jimenez [press release, in Spanish], president of the Gay Liberation and Integration Movement (MOVILH) [advocacy website, in Spanish]. “This is very good news for Chile.” Couples will be able to validate their civil unions by registering it in the civil registry.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has been controversial globally in recent years, particularly in Latin America. In 2013 Uruguay joined Argentina as the only South American countries to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST report]. In May 2012 the City of Buenos Aires passed a resolution [JURIST report] to recognize same-sex marriages for non-citizens.