Gay couple manages to register the first civil union of the same sex in Bolivia

Thanks to a court ruling, two men got their civil union registered in Bolivia on Friday. It is the first couple to do so in a country where the Constitution does not recognize unions between people of the same sex.

The couple told The Associated Press on Friday that after years of legal struggle they have achieved an important milestone that generates jurisprudence for other same-sex unions to be recognized.

“We feel hopeful and happy that our rights to our free union of 11 years are being fulfilled,” David Aruquipa, along with his partner, Guido Montaño, told AP.

The day before the National Service of the Civic Registry (SERECÍ) issued a resolution to comply with a ruling of a court of first instance that ordered the registration of the couple in July despite the fact that the constitution and the Family Code only recognize marriage between a heterosexual couple.

Aruquipa admitted that the news caused them “surprise” because SERECÍ himself had refused four months ago to comply with the court ruling and sent a query to the Constitutional Court.

“The fight continues, what we have achieved is to mark a historical milestone and jurisprudence, but we must continue,” explained Aruquipa.

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“There was really an incredulity from the authorities that this is a serious human rights case. They didn’t take it that way until little by little they realized it, “Montaño added in a press conference in which they toasted the achievement.

Bolivia is a conservative country whose progress for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGTBI) community has been slow. In 2016, the first important step was achieved when identity cards were granted to transsexual and transgender people.

The evangelical pastor Luis Aruquipa of the National Christian Council (CNC) -and who has no family ties with David Aruquipa-, expressed his rejection of the decision and remarked that a couple is made up of a man and a woman.

The decision was celebrated by the LGTBI community of Bolivia and international organizations.

“Good news: after a difficult legal dispute, Bolivia recognizes for the first time the free union of a same-sex couple,” Human Rights Watch director for the Americas, José Miguel Vivanco, wrote on his Twitter account.

“Great step for equality before the law in the country,” he added.

In the same social network, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights described the resolution as “historic in a momentous day because the decision was given on International Human Rights Day.”

In Latin America equal marriage is legal in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and in some states of Mexico.

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