- October 17, 2013
Post submitted by Limor Finkel, Former HRC Global Engagement Program Coordinator
This week a family law judge in the city of Gachetá, Colombia upheld Claudia Zea and Elizabeth Castro’s marriage license. Zea and Castillo, a lesbian couple living outside the capital of Bogotá, were among the first same-sex couples to receive a marriage license from Colombia’s Constitutional Court back in late September.
Anti-LGBT groups like Fundación Marído y Mujer (The Husband and Wife Foundation) have taken couples like Zea and Castillo to court in an attempt to nullify the Constitutional Court’s ruling using the acción de tutela, a measure under Colombian law that is intended to provide immediate recourse to someone whose constitutional rights are violated. Earlier this month, one couple’s marriage license was revoked through the bigoted actions of the Fundación invoking the tutela as grounds for nullification.
Zea and Castillo’s case is a huge victory for same-sex couples all over Colombia since the 2011 Constitutional Court ruling that first allowed same-sex partners the same, full family rights as heterosexual couples. While these unions were legally termed marriages until recently, court rulings like Zea and Castillo’s are paving the way for more same-sex couples to have equal rights and protections under the law as their heterosexual counterparts.
Colombia first recognized same-sex civil unions earlier this summer, though many marriage benefits were initially extended to same-sex couples back in 2007.
Mauricio Albarracín, a lawyer for the Colombian LGBT rights group Colombia Diversa, tempered Zea and Castillo’s victory by stating that, “at the end, all of the tutelas will go to the Constitutional Court.” It will be an uphill battle for many same-sex couples in Colombia, but Albarracín is hopeful that most judges will rule in favor of couples like Zea and Castillo and will throw out the tutelas as a means of depriving loving couples equality under the law.