Friday, June 15, 2007

Colombia: United Nations backs pension rights for same-sex couples

Pictured right, attorney and gay rights advocate
German Humberto Rincon Perfetti

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 "Australia, in denying pension rights to the surviving same-sex partner of a war veteran, violated discrimination protections in article 26 of the ICCPR" (Human Rights Watch).

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

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.


Bloggernista said...

Ain't it great how the U.S. constantly brags about being the leader of the free world when we are falling further and further behind other nation's when it comes to LGBT civil rights? Yeah, marriage in Massachusetts is great, but the vast majority of us don't leave there.

Congratulations to the Columbian LGBT activists who made this victory happen!

notary public said...

Congratulations to the people who started this! Indeed, every person has the free will to choose what he wants to be. This should not discriminate you or alienate you from the rest. Equal rights is the answer! Thanks for sharing and have a nice day! :)