October 2, 2013

Local Judges in Columbia Are Marrying Gays Against Higher Ups in Government


Claudia Zea y Elizabeth Castillo durante la ceremonia matrimonial del pasado miércoles. / Fotos: Óscar Pérez

The picture and report appeared in El Espectador in Columbia. Google translated it into English for me.

                                                                           (*)

In the lobby of a modest hotel in the village of Gachetá , a few hours of Bogota, listens to a question : " Does anyone have eye shadows ? " . All the women present dig into their wallets, but nobody takes makeup. " I have some , but not very good , I bought them for Halloween," Claudia Zea finally answer one of the brides , waiting patiently for the beautiful makeup . Elizabeth Castillo out of one room to kiss him and give Claudia a compliment.

They came to town last night and just are accompanied by the bridesmaids : Marcela Rojas and Adriana Gonzalez , another of couples on 20 June this year presented their papers at the local court for filing applications for marriage equality . Applications are randomly assigned to judges who have to interpret the law to decide whether or not the marriages celebrated . Adriana Marcela and are still waiting . For Elizabeth and Claudia " the judge recognized what it was and was declared incompetent " says the first . So again present in Gachetá , the people of Elizabeth's father , the judge accepted the marriage application and were given an appointment for that Wednesday morning .

" We found out just last week." That explains it all so improvised . " This is a bet as activists. I had a very nice ceremony May 25 with our families and our children. " Claudia and Elizabeth have one son each, and are not present today as they have classes in college. Neither managed to get the rest of the family, because of the pressure of the ceremony and for a family emergency : Elizabeth 's grandmother died the day before, after a long illness. " This ceremony was in the botanical garden with all our friends . We exchanged our vows and made our commitment of love . We decided to do it before because we knew how it would be this, " says Claudia , adding: " Organizing a ceremony in a week is very difficult. “

" While we are in this situation , it's like Russian roulette , it is impossible to plan a ceremony, because you never know what will be the date and the judge may refuse at the last minute , or could the Attorney or Christians to try to interfere in our marriages . That is also why this ceremony was so secret , "says Elizabeth . Indeed , only present the bridesmaids , who also will witness four close friends , lawyers and Mauricio Manuel Paez Albarracin, who have accompanied the process , and Marcela Sanchez of Colombia Diversa , which says : " In the future, remember how we had to come through a wilderness , having to plan a strategy for every two people who love them legal status is recognized by the state. “

It is speculated that the first gay marriage in Colombia on Friday, September 20 at the Municipal Civil Court of Bogotá 48 and during the week there have been other marriages in the country. To do so only requires a marriage registry office for terms of less than three months and Colombia Diversa recommended to those who want to get the link not sign " solemn contracts " in notaries, they do not create any rights and discriminatory. " There is no reason for the contract of the same sex is different than heterosexuals ," says Mauricio Albarracin . " You can also find more information on page Matrimonioigualitario.org “ .

Claudia and Elizabeth walk hand in hand towards the court and pass under a tent with the Mayor's motto : " Gachetá itself progresses ." His companions waving rainbow flags in its path and then use them to decorate the halls of the courthouse. Presiding Judge hearing Gachetá municipal promiscuous , Julio Gonzalez .
" Remain united in lawful civil marriage with all the privileges and all the civil rights that the law gives them and the same obligations imposed civil law , especially in Case C - 577 of 2011." Claudia Elizabeth and exchanged rings and " masters you " to the applause and laughter from everyone in the room . They go to sign the papers and take pictures in the window , with the church in the background. " Lodge in as in marriages ," says Elizabeth , while he realizes that there must be " as in" because this is indeed a marriage.

" I'm not doing any favor , no matter that I am a supporter of the LGBT movement or is of a liberal political group , such things should not influence a judge to act according to law and the Constitution ," said Judge Gonzalez . " A judge may make interpretation of the rules , though there are some gaps there are similarities and there are techniques that can be used . In this case , the analogy is not only taking into account rules of the Civil Code , but we already have a judgment of the Constitutional Court 's ruling fully explaining judicial officials in the event that there is no regulation unions legal for same-sex couples should apply the rules of the Civil Code . This is because the Court can not assume the role of new laws , and because Congress did not, the judges can interpret that according to the Constitution and the Civil Code can be practiced marriages “ .

But then , why some judges have practiced " solemn unions " , I ask . " You may be afraid of losing their jobs , but I think it's a theological question , because if so not even declare marriage as such. I do not think he's in any danger , I have exceeded my duties as a judge , I'm not committing even a disciplinary offense or a failure . “

Gonzalez has three specializations , constitutional law , civil and administrative proceedings , and a Master of contractual liability. " It is the obligation of the law change as societies evolve , and we can not stop covering fundamental rights of other families that are emerging , failing which the right has to be static . The law has to change, adapt and have to serve as many people and people provided it is based on principles of legality and justice “ .

Despite the controversy , even if Colombia were to lie down marriage equality , the unions made can not be dissolved . Aroldo Quiroz, exprocurador to defend the family children and adolescents between 2003 and 2008 and a professor of St. Thomas universities and the Andes, explains : " After practicing civil marriage only two options : divorce , you should ask either party , or nullity , which has nine grounds in the Civil Code : when one party is under 14 years , when there has been force against one spouse to enter the union , by relationship first or second degree kinship adoption or affinity , or the existence of a previous marriage effect. The law can not dissolve already formed civil status “ .

The newlyweds leave the court and directed to file the papers in the Registry of the people , which is a few meters , crossing the square. " We have to change your marital status, lest tomorrow I want to marry another woman ," he tells his wife Claudia kidding. While delivering papers , his friends , who tried but failed to bring serenade hire anyone in the village, put a song blaring in Los Panchos truck stereo : " Join your voice to my voice to shout that succeed that the world is tired , here we are the two without sacrificing or hide " . Elizabeth and Claudia look at each other with eyes veiled by tears of joy .
" Love nothing could separate us , we fight every misconception , the story and there is nothing to tell, succeed with the power of love “ .

* Philosopher and columnist for The Spectator .
Legal status of same-sex couples

 1. The unions of same-sex couples are recognized in Colombia as a family and are legally protected by the figure of marital union .

2 . Affiliate partner social security system in health and survivorship pensions .

3 . Sue criminally for food when the couple is unaware of the obligation of mutual support.

4. Having a heritage homestead .

5 . Receive family allowances for housing and services as a couple.

6. Being legal heir of the estate of his partner.

7 . Acquire Colombian nationality residence and if foreign adoption .

8. The same-sex couples must meet special requirements, additional or different from those that follow the same-sex couples .

El Espectador

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