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Chile’s President Signs Anti-Discrimination Bill into Law

July 13th, 2012 Comments off

Photo of  Daniel Zamudio. Image via Facebook.

It may have taken more time than the global community would have liked, but Chilean President Sebastian Pinera officially signed anti-discrimination legislation into law Thursday, three months after a gay man was beaten to death by his attackers. The legislation, though, has a long history. It was first introduced seven years ago, and it was largely ignored. But after the death of Daniel Zamudio, Pinera urged that Congress expedite the passage of the stalled bill. Finally in May it was approved. The death of the young man caused international pressure as well for Chile to raise the severity of crimes against gay and lesbian people to hate-crime status.

“Without a doubt, Daniel’s death was painful but it was not in vain,” Pinera said at a press conference joined by Zamudio’s parents. “His passing not only unified wills to finally approve this anti-discrimination law but it also helped us examine our conscience and ask ourselves: have we ever discriminated someone? … After his death we’ll think twice, thrice or four times before we fall prey to that behavior.” [AP]

 

Chile’s Congress Approves Anti-Discrimination Law

April 5th, 2012 Comments off

Image via Passport.

Just a week after the brutal death of a gay man last Wednesday in Santiago, Chile, the House of Deputies approved an anti-discrimination law that will protect sexual minorities (it was first proposed seven years ago!). The bill, passed in a narrow vote 58-56, will now go on to be finalized in a commission consisting of senators and House lawmakers. The bill was most likely moved so quickly through approval because of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera (who we wrote about when we last went to Santiago in 2009). He urged lawmakers to get the bill approved after 24-year-old Daniel Zamudio died March 27. [WaPo]

Gay & Lesbian Rights Upheld in Historic Inter-American Court of Human Rights Ruling

March 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Image via IGLHRC

On Tuesday, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the Government of Chile for its 2003 Supreme Court ruling which stripped Karen Atala, a lesbian mother and judge, of custody of her three daughters on the basis of her sexual orientation. The Court ruled that Chile must pay $50,000 in damages to the judge, in addition to $12,000 in court costs. This is the first time the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has ever heard a case specifically regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.

IGLHRC, MADRE, and the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law co-authored a brief for the Court, arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity should be found to be a protected class under the American Convention on Human Rights as held under international law. Attorneys from Morrison and Foerster focused on the custody issue at hand, arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity not be a factor in custody determinations. The brief was joined by 13 other organizations. This week’s ruling upholds both arguments. [NYT] [IGLHRC]