Venezuela: Same-sex partnerships on fast track to being legally recognized, says legislator

Romelia Matute, a member of Venezuela’s National Assembly and Deputy of the Assembly’s Family Commission, has announced that the Venezuelan legislature is well on its way to approving a bill that would grant same-sex couples legal recognition, including shared patrimony and inheritance rights.

As reported on Friday in Spain’s ABC, Matute stated that “the report on the ‘Organic Bill for Gender Equality’ is almost ready for a second – and final – [legislative] debate,” adding that it would include language allowing “the union between two people of the same gender” in the form of something she called “co-inhabiting associations”.

Matute said that members of the National Assembly, a majority of whom belong to President Hugo Chávez‘ party, had met “several times” with gay rights organizations and said that it was those organizations who requested that the “co-inhabiting association” term be used.

She said that the government would recognize “the joint-living associations formed by two persons of the same gender, on mutual accord and free agreement, with the full legal and patrimonial effect”.

Matute also said that the bill would address transgender issues: “Whoever changes their gender through surgical means, or any other means, exercising their freedom, has the right to their identity, and to drafting or changing all documents associated with their identification”.

In a statement distributed today by Radio Reflejos of Venezuela – which operates an online LGBT news radio show – they call it a collective achievement for the LGBT Venezuelan movement and single out a few individuals who, they say, have attended meetings with those drafted the bill: Transgender rights activist Rummie Quintero from Transfemenina, who is said to be the first transgender person to be ever called for consultation by the National Assembly; Elena Hernaíz from the Reflejos Foundation; transgender attorney Tamara Adrian, from Diverlex (pictured right); and organizations such as Union Afirmativa, the Lesbian Feminist Collective, and others.

Interestingly, they do not mention the United Socialist Bloc for Homosexual Liberation or their leader Heisler Vaamonde, who has aligned himself with the Chávez government over the years despite few advances in LGBT rights during his decade-old rule.

The activists do urge people to contact the Deputies of the Family Commission to offer support for this initiative as it reaches the parliamentary floor for a vote. They include:

  • Marelys Pérez Marcano:
  • Flor Ríos florrios: @
  • Carmen Rodríguez Rauseo: carmenrodriguez @
  • Juan José Molina: juanmolina @
  • Diluvina Cabello: diluvinacabello @
  • Alberto Castellar: albertocastelar @

There are no specific details on when the bill might reach the floor for a vote.


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