Recognition of same-sex unions in Colombia

Recognition of same-sex unions in Colombia
Legal recognition of
same-sex relationships


South Africa

Performed in some jurisdictions

Mexico: Mexico City
United States: CT, DC, IA, MA, NH, NY, VT, Coquille, Suquamish

Recognized, not performed

Aruba (Netherlands only)
Curaçao (Netherlands only)
Mexico: all states (Mexico City only)
Sint Maarten (Netherlands only)
United States: CA (conditional), MD

Civil unions and
registered partnerships

Czech Republic
- New Caledonia
- Wallis and Futuna

Isle of Man
New Zealand
United Kingdom

Performed in some jurisdictions

Australia: ACT, NSW, TAS, VIC
Mexico: COA
United States: CA, CO, DE, HI, IL, ME, NJ, NV, OR, RI, WA, WI

Unregistered cohabitation



Recognized in some jurisdictions

United States: MD

See also

Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage legislation
Timeline of same-sex marriage
Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe
Marriage privatization
Civil union
Domestic partnership
Listings by country

LGBT portal
v · d · e

Colombia has no laws providing for same-sex marriage. However, as a result of Constitutional Court ruling on 29 January 2009, same-sex couples can be recognised as de facto unions (uniones de hecho), which were previously available only to heterosexual couples and which provide all of the rights of marriage.[1] According to the 1991 Constitution, "de facto unions" are legally equal to marriages.

A couple will be regarded as a de facto union after living together for two years.[2] A union can be either registered or unregistered; both have the same status, but the registered union may provide greater convenience when accessing rights. A union can be registered through a public deed before a notary or a judge.[3]



Court rulings

On February 7, 2007, the Constitutional Court of Colombia extended several common-law marriage property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples.[4] [5] A subsequent court decision, handed down in October 2007, extended social security and health insurance rights to same-sex couples.[6] Finally, on January 29, 2009, the Constitutional Court ruled that cohabitating same-sex couples must be given all of rights offered to unmarried heterosexual couples (which are equal to those of married couples, including nationality, residence permits, testimony when in jury, family-properties laws, etc).[7]

The Constitutional Court of Colombia further ruled on Tuesday July 26 2011 to order the Colombian Congress to legislate on the matter of same-sex marriage and that if they fail to, same-sex couples will be granted all marriage rights in two years (on June 20th 2013) automatically. [8]

South America
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Unregistered cohabitation
  Unrecognized or unknown
  No recognition, issue under consideration
  No recognition, only same-sex marriage officially banned
  No recognition, all types of partnerships officially banned
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Parliamentary proposals

On 15 June 2007, the lower house of the Congress of Colombia approved a historic same-sex couples bill by a vote of 62-43,[9] and President Uribe was expected to sign the measure, which had been approved by the Colombian Senate in April. However, on June 19, a group of conservative senators broke party discipline in what is usually a routine vote on the final form of a bill and defeated the measure by 34-29 in the 102-member Senate. About 80 LGBT-rights advocates held a demonstration outside Congress the following day, protesting the bill's defeat.[10] Supporters vowed to revive the legislation.

The bill, which had been endorsed by conservative President Alvaro Uribe,[11] would have made Colombia the first nation in Latin America to grant gay couples in long-term relationships the same rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security as heterosexual couples.

According to a report on, "Under the legislation same-sex couples would have to register as partners. They would have to have lived together for more than two years and be of legal age. In return they will receive the same social security and inheritance rights as married couples. Supporters of the bill had tried four times since 1999 to pass the legislation, but each time it failed after opposition from the Roman Catholic Church."[12]

According to a report in the Washington Post,[9] "Bogota has a thriving gay neighborhood, bars whose patrons are openly gay and a center that provides counseling and legal advice to members of the gay community. Local politicians, among them Mayor Luis Eduardo Garzón and prominent members of Congress such as Senator Armando Benedetti, have supported the drive to give more rights to gay couples . . . but violence against gays is not uncommon and discrimination remains a recurring problem."

As Elizabeth Castillo, a lawyer and gay rights advocate, has stated, "even with the new law, many partners in gay relationships would probably be denied health and other benefits. . . . It's possible things won't change for some people," even if the law on same-sex couples' rights were to be enacted.[9]

In 2011 after the Constitutional Court ruling, four bills were presented before the congress in order to correct the disadvantage of same-sex couples, two projects use the word Marriage, two of them create a new figure, Civil Union."[13]


Same-sex couples in de facto unions are entitled to a wide range of rights, including:[14]

  • Joint property ownership
  • Health benefits
  • Immigration rights (i.e. the non-Colombian partner of a Colombian citizen will be able to gain a Colombian residence permit and citizenship)
  • Social security rights
  • Protection in domestic violence laws
  • Rights in court (i.e. no obligation to give testimony against one's partner)

See also


  1. ^ Colombian court confirms equal rights for same-sex couples, Pink News, 30 January 2009
  2. ^ Top Colombian court affirms gay couples' right to joint health plans, International Herald Tribune
  3. ^ Union marital de hecho
  4. ^ (Spanish)EL TIEMPO - Corte da primer derecho a parejas gays
  5. ^ "Rights for Colombia gay couples". BBC News. 2007-02-08. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  6. ^ Colombian court rules in favour of equal rights for gay couples, Pink News, 6 October 2007
  7. ^ (Spanish)"The Constitutional Court modified 42 regulations to protect gay couples rights",El Tiempo, 2009-01-29. Retrieved on July 02, 2009
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c Forero, Juan (2007-07-16). "Colombia to Recognize Gay Unions With Extension of Health, Other Benefits". (The Washington Post). Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  10. ^ Goodman, Joshua (2007-07-21). "Colombia Conservatives Derail Same-Sex Couples Bill". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  11. ^ Ceaser, Mike (2007-04-26). "Gay rights grow in Colombia". (The San Francisco Chronicle). Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  12. ^ "Colombia Gives Gay Couples Same Rights As Marriage,"
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ [2]

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