Chilean president to send Parliament civil unions bill

Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera has announced that he will forward to parliament a bill that would grant both heterosexual and homosexual couples the ability to form civil unions, granting them many of the same rights as marriage.

Pinera announced his intentions in an interview published Saturday by daily El Mercurio.

The conservative lawmaker said his bill seeks to “protect and safeguard” the civil rights of couples living outside of marriage and “safeguard the dignity of those couples, whether of opposite sex or even the same sex.”

The news comes just one week after Chili’s largest LGBT rights group, Movimiento Chileno de Minorias Sexuales, called for a national march for marriage equality that was designed to get the President’s attention.

Majority public support for legal recognition of same-sex partners in Chili has been strong since 2004. However, same-sex marriage still polls considerably lower than civil unions.

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