Bolivia recognizes same-sex civil union for the first time

Two years ago, a couple of men embarked on a long legal battle in Bolivia to have their union recognized. It is now done: the Andi country recognized for the first time in its history, Friday, December 12, a civil union between two people of the same sex.

The Civil Status Service of Bolivia (Sereci) recorded “free union between David Victor Aruquipa Perez and Guido Alvaro Montaño Duran”, two men of 45 and 48 years old, canceling his previous provision made in 2018, said the Ombudsman, Nadia Cruz. At the time, the Sereci then refused the couple’s request to register their de facto union for eleven years, arguing that Bolivian law did not contemplate unions of couples of the same sex. The Civil Status Service then took refuge behind article 63 of the Bolivian Constitution, which describes marriage as a link between a woman and a man.

The two turned to the Constitutional Court, which recalled the 2017 Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Cidh) ruling stating that “States have an obligation to recognize the family ties of persons of the same sex and to protect them”.

“It’s a historical fact”, enthusiastic Victor Aruquipa Perez, company director, during a press conference, even if much remains to be done for this recognition of same-sex couples to become effective in the country. “This precedent reinforces the principle of equality before the law and will allow this couple and other same-sex couples to exercise their rights without discrimination”, wrote the Defender of the People in a statement.

The LGTBI organizations of the Andean country are delighted that this constitutional decision “places Bolivia on the path to greater respect for the rights of diversity, to curb discrimination and to achieve equality between all the inhabitants of the country”.

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