Colombia's Constitutional Court on July 26 gave Congress two years to extend the rights of marriage to same-sex couples and said that if it doesn't, then same-sex civil unions will become legal anyway.
The ruling was unanimous.
"The court curiously delayed the date its ruling takes effect, on the ground that the Congress must legislate on the matter," said leading activist Germán Rincón-Perfetti. "In six attempts, Congress has shelved bills on homosexual issues because of problems of religious contamination. For the seventh time, the process will begin and if there is not a favorable decision, then the court's ruling will enter into force."
The court also said that although the nation's constitution defines marriage as between a man and woman, that doesn't exclude other definitions.
It further ruled that, legally speaking, same-sex families are families, which has the effect of opening up various avenues of equal treatment for same-sex couples.