(Photo Credits: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Great news, guys! For the first time in Bolivia’s history, their civil registry has authorized same-sex civil union. The decision—which came down this last Friday following a couple’s two-year old legal battle—is being lauded as a “‘great step for equality’ in the country,” New York Daily News reports. 

The couple, a 48-year-old businessman named David Aruquipa and a 45-year-old lawyer named Guido Montaño, tried to register their union in October 2018 under the Bolivian Code of Families. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), “the Bolivian Constitution states that free unions between a man and a woman have the same effects as a civil marriage, including with respect to the couple’s property and children.”

The couple’s application to the registry office however, had been denied; the reason cited being that their country’s laws do not recognize same-sex marriages. 

Aruquipa and Montaño, who have been together for over 11 years already, challenged the decision in the court. They argued that the ruling “violated international human rights standards and constituted discrimination under Bolivian law.”

The couple was referring to the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) on January 9, 2018 that required countries signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights to allow same-sex couples to marry. The ruling states that:

<blockquote>The State must recognize and guarantee all rights derived from a family bond between persons of the same sex in accordance with the provisions of Articles 11.2 and 17.1 of the American Convention. (…) in accordance with articles 1.1, 2, 11.2, 17 and 24 of the American Convention, it is necessary to guarantee access to all the existing figures in domestic legal systems, including the right to marry. (..) To ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples, without discrimination with respect to those that are constituted by heterosexual couples. </blockquote>

As a result, several countries in Latin America such as in Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, and parts of Mexico have now accepted same-sex marriage.

Following their victory, the couple released a statement through Aruquipa who, according to Reuters, is a “well-known local activist for LGBT causes.” Aruquipa said, “It is an initial step, but what inspires us is (the goal) of transforming the law.” Read the story in full here.

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