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Colombia court
orders property rights for gay couples

Colombia court
orders property rights for gay couples

Colombia's constitutional court ruled Wednesday that same-sex couples should have the same property rights as straight couples. The landmark decision will apply to those couples who have lived together for a minimum of two years.

The court concluded that the expression "men and women" used in a 1990 law, granting property rights only to straight couples, was unconstitutional.

Gay rights group Colombia Diversa claimed that at least 100,000 couples would benefit from the new legislation.

Colombia Diversa leader Marcela Sanchez said the ruling was "a great step" but suggested that more needs to be done to end discrimination against gay men and lesbians.

"Laws are not enough; an important cultural shift is needed...for discrimination to end," said Sanchez.

She explained that previously, gay and lesbian couples who wanted to share their property had to do so through commercial means, ensuring that if one partner died, the surviving one would inherit the shared property.

This move follows a Colombian senate ruling in October that extended patrimonial rights and social security benefits to same-sex couples.

Wednesday's ruling adds momentum to Latin America's growing legal acceptance of same-sex couples, despite angry criticism from local Catholic officials who said the court was "going against the family and matrimony." (Hassan Mirza, U.K.)

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