Yesterday's surprise end-of-session congressional vote and passage of a bill that gives "established gay couples full rights to health insurance, inheritance and social security" was not the only major gay rights victory in the South American country this week.
In a little reported May 14th finding that was apparently only announced this week, the United Nations Commission for Human Rights ruled that Colombia had violated a person's equal right protections by denying him access to the pension benefits of his deceased same-sex partner (I could only find a Spanish language version of the the announcement in the United Nations' website).
The ruling is the second time that the Commission has spoken on issues related to same-sex partners. In Young v. Australia (2003) the Committee held that
In the new ruling, the Commission stated that the Colombian government "has the obligation of adopting measures to block similar violations in the future" and asks Colombia for "information on adopted measures to comply with the current ruling" within 90 days.
It's unclear when and how the Colombian government plans to respond.
The claim on behalf of the unnamed surviving partner was brought before the Commission by my friend and Colombian gay rights advocate (and attorney) German Humberto Rincon Perfetti (yes, he is a man of many untold names and abilities). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These developments follow a Colombian Supreme Court ruling back in February (as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle) that seems to be paving the way for a succession of gay rights victories.
Perfetti, for one, is exploring whether Colombian notaries can legally deny civil union rights to same-sex partners in the wake of that Supreme Court ruling.