Almost a full week after a Venezuelan legislator announced that a parliamentary commission was putting the recognition of same-sex partnership rights on the fast-track, a colleague held a press conference yesterday to play down any possibility that such a bill was on the horizon.
Background: On Friday, Romelia Matute - one of seven member of the Family, Women and Youth Commission - stated that a gender equality bill being drafted for a parliamentary vote in June would include language creating the recognition of "co-inhabiting associations" as a way to allow "the union of two people of the same gender."
If approved, she said, the bill would grant legislative recognition to "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".
She also indicated that members of the Venezuelan Assembly had met with LGBT rights organizations and activists and that the bill would soon be voted upon and approved.
Not so fast: But yesterday, Marelys Pérez - the Commission's Chairwoman - denied that any such language was being considered as part of the gender equality bill and said that the National Assembly was not ready to legislate on same-sex unions or same-sex partners living together.
Accoridng to El Tiempo, Pérez said that she had decided to make a public statement to express concern that national and international press were reporting that the National Assembly and the Venezuelan government would legally recognize same-sex unions.
"The 'Organic Law for Gender Equity and Equality' Act establishes respect for those who those who have a sexual option, safeguards their human rights, calls for no discrimination, but it is something different than granting legal [recognition] to homosexual unions," she said, "that is not the objective of this law."
When she was reminded that it was another Commission member who had set the ball rolling by indicating that same-sex partnerships would advance as part of the bill, Pérez replied that Assemblymember Matute had spoken about a personal initiative that had yet to be taken under consideration and which did not involve the National Assembly as an institution.
According to Cadena Global, Pérez said that the Commission would debate the same-sex partnership rights initiative but that they would leave it out of the current bill and probably wait for reforms to the Civil Code or a future anti-discrimination bill.
The bill as currently drafted would still grant "the right of every person to live a pleasurable, responsible and freely decided sexuality, and the capacity of exercising a sexual orientation and identity without discrimination and in conditions of equality", according to the paper.
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