As summer ends in these latitudes, spring is in full bloom down in Chile. Over the weekend, from 1,000 to 10,000 people - depending who you ask - marched down the streets of Santiago for their annual gay pride event, leading the Homosexual Integration and Liberation Movement (Movilh) to declare it the largest such even in the history of Chile. Marchers celebrated a decision by the Education Ministry to adopt sexual orientation non-discrimination language in the standard high-school sexual education curriculum and saluted an initiative by the Chile Chamber of Deputies to combat hate crimes based on sexual orientation. Newspapers noted the increased participation of lesbians.
Tomas Hirsch, the only presidential candidate who joined the crowds, said that Chile could only reach true Democracy "when sexual orientation is not something against which we discriminate."
He also said he supported the right of same-sex couples to marry and said that, as President, he would back Movilh's upcoming push for legal recognition of same-sex partnerships through the adoption of civil union legislation.
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