Chile Approves Antidiscrimination Law
BY Trudy Ring
May 11 2012 7:56 PM ET
In the wake of a brutal hate crime, Chile’s national legislative body has passed the nation’s first comprehensive, gay-inclusive antidiscrimination law.
The Chilean Senate approved the bill 25-3 Wednesday, The Santiago Times reports. It will prohibit “distinction, exclusion or restriction that lacks reasonable justification” and is based on race, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, ideology, political opinion, religious beliefs, participation in organizations or lack thereof, sex, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, health, or disability.
“The law will allow arbitrary acts of discrimination to be punishable by sanctions and/or fines and will further empower courts to rule against discriminatory actions that will now be illegal,” the paper reports.
The bill was first introduced in 2005, but legislators took little action on it in ensuing years, as it was opposed by religious leaders as a possible first step toward legal same-sex marriage. But supporters stepped up a push for it this year after the killing of Daniel Zamundio, believed to have been targeted for being gay. In March he was beaten by a group of attackers, reportedly neo-Nazis, who carved swastikas into his body and burned him with cigarettes. He received severe head injuries and a broken leg, and lay in a coma for three weeks before he died. Four suspects have been arrested.