Chile may see a vote on same-sex marriage soon, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera has said. The bill, to this point, has been slow to reach a vote due to the country’s ruling conservative government.
On Tuesday, Piñera said during his annual address to Congress, “I think the time for equal marriage has come in our country,” according to Reuters.
“All people, regardless of their sexual orientation, will be able to live, love, and form a family with all the protection and dignity they need and deserve,” he added.
The announcement comes as Chileans have seen street demonstrations against the government.
In 2015, Chile’s legislature passed a bill approving civil unions, but not marriage equality. That bill, introduced by left-of-center former president Michelle Bachelet, has languished in Chile’s Congress since 2017.
Local activists have voiced their support for what is considered a surprising change.
“This announcement and change of position by Piñera is as surprising as it is positive,” said Rolando Jimenez of the Chilean LGBTQ rights group Movilh.
He added that the move towards marriage equality has been decades in the making even as LGBTQ people in Chile have faced discrimination.