Gay pride events in Latin America seek more rights

Gay pride events in Latin America seek more rights
Participants hold flags as they march during a Gay Pride Parade in Mexico City, June 27, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

SANTIAGO - Marchers in several Latin American nations including Chile and Mexico pressed for more gay rights Saturday, with many celebrating the US Supreme Court's historic decision allowing same-sex couples to wed.

Chile in January passed a law allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions. But for many in the South American nation, legal marriage remains the symbol of equal rights under the law.

Some 50,000 demonstrators waved rainbow banners in Santiago, and called for the creation of a diversity ministry in this culturally conservative, mostly Roman Catholic country.

Activists also were seeking easier transition processes for transgender people. In Chile, someone who undergoes a gender transition has to invest heavily in a complicated, two-year legal process.

The US Supreme Court ruled Friday that gay marriage is a legal right in all 50 states. US President Barack Obama praised the ruling as "a victory for America."

In more conservative Peru, where several thousand gay rights demonstrators also marched, Catholic Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani slammed the US court ruling as "tragic."

"With one vote of a US court people want to change the way we live around the world. That is colonialism, imperialism worse then economic imperialism," he fumed.

"The United States is not the (world's) brain, in charge of how people live in today's world," Cipriani said Saturday.

In Mexico City, about 5,000 marchers called for equal rights for gays and lesbians. And they had something to celebrate.

Until this month, only Mexico City plus two other states out of 31 had guaranteed same-sex marriage officially.

But a court ruling, which was quietly issued on June 3, says that it is unconstitutional for Mexican states to ban same-sex marriage -- a de facto legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

In May, Ireland became the first country in the world to vote for same-sex marriage in a referendum.

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