Marriage equality activists demonstrate in Bogota.
Colombian Senate Votes Down Marriage Equality

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com April 24 2013 7:14 PM ET

Colombia’s Senate rejected a marriage equality bill today, defying a mandate by the nation’s highest court to extend same-sex couples all the benefits of marriage.

The body voted 51-17 against the bill, one day after debating the measure, the Washington Blade reports.

Sen. Luís Fernando Velasco spoke in favor of the legislation, saying LGBT Colombians “don’t want our sympathy, what they want is that we recognize human dignity.” Opponents used the familiar claim that same-sex marriage is bad for children, with Sen. Alexandra Moreno Piraqüive citing European countries that allow gay couples to marry, adding, “We should not compare ourselves to another country.”

The nation’s LGBT citizens may get some satisfaction from the courts. In 2011 the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled that the nation’s Congress, of which the Senate is part, must pass legislation within two years assuring that same-sex couples have the same rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples. Same-sex pairs can legally register their unions if Congress does not do so by June 20, the Blade notes. Also, according to the international activist group All Out, another court case on marriage will be heard this summer.