Bolivia: First same-sex union after legal battle

Guido Montano and David Aruquipa at a news conference where the first same-sex civil union was recognised by the Bolivian Civil Registry in La Paz, Bolivia, December 11, 2020 – Image: REUTERS/David Mercado

(Reuters) – Bolivia’s civil registry authorised for the first time a same-sex civil union, following a two-year legal battle, a decision activists in the Andean nation hope will pave the way for an overhaul of the country’s marriage laws.

David Aruquipa, a 48-year-old businessman, and Guido Montaño, a 45-year-old lawyer, were initially denied the right to register their union, in 2018, by authorities in Bolivia, who said the country’s laws did not allow same-sex marriage.

The couple, together for more than 11 years, took their case to court. While the Bolivian Constitution still does not contemplate same-sex unions, Montaño and Aruquipa argued successfully [that] the prohibition violated international human rights standards, and constituted discrimination under Bolivian law.

“It is an initial step, but what inspires us is (the goal) of transforming the law,” said Aruquipa, a well-known local activist for LGBT causes.

Despite considerable opposition from religious groups, gay marriage has become increasingly accepted in Latin America, with same-sex couples now allowed to marry in Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and parts of Mexico.

-Daniel Ramos and Reuters TV, Writing by Dave Sherwood

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