Colombian judge orders notary to perform same-sex marriage

A Colombian judge ordered a notary to marry a same-sex couple, days after another couple obtained the first civil union in the Latin American country, according to a ruling seen by AFP Saturday.

The civil judge in the southwestern city of Cali, Campo Elias Cordoba, made the decision on an appeal filed by Luis Rodriguez and Edward Amaya, after the notary had refused to marry them on June 20.

Colombia's Senate has been blocking legislation to implement a court ruling that would have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples starting in June.

In his decision, Cordoba said, "there is no other contractual option known to generate the intended effects of the plaintiffs" other than a marriage license.

Therefore, the contract to formalize the couple's union "should be governed by the regulations application to civil marriage, both in their rights and in their duties and other privileges which are derived therefrom."

Rodriguez told AFP the notary has agreed to abide by the ruling, so couple has set a date for Monday.

On Wednesday, a judge in Bogota ruled another couple, Carlos Rivera and Gonzalo Ruiz, were "legally joined," with all the resulting rights -- in the first known instance of a legalized gay union in Colombia.

But he did not use the document required for heterosexual marriages, nor did he use the term "marriage" in the ceremony, because he said there is no law allowing same-sex unions in Colombia.

In April, a bill that would have legalized gay union failed to pass in the Senate. The law had been proposed in response to a the Constitutional Court's ruling in 2011 demanding a legal framework granting same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

A court ruling in 2007 had already afforded gay Colombian couples many of the benefits of marriage -- including for inheritance and taxes -- but stopped short of allowing marriage. That also meant same-sex couples were barred from adopting.