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Professor Pierre de Vos was invited to give an expert submission in a same-sex marriage case, by the Colombian Constitutional Court

7 Sep 2015 - 08:45

Prof Pierre de Vos, the Claude Leon Foundation Chair in Constitutional Governance, was invited by the Colombian Constitutional Court to make an expert submission to it to assist it in a case dealing with same-sex marriage. Prof De Vos made a video submission of ten minutes which was played to the court on 30 July 2015.

The Constitutional Court decided in 2011 that same-sex couples have a right to most, if not all, of the rights of married different-sex couples, and gave Colombia's Congress two years to pass a "separate but equal" law creating civil unions or something similar.  Because the Congress has done nothing to date, the Court has been asked to order equal access to civil marriage for same-sex couples.

In addition to statements from the parties to the case and their representatives, several NGOs, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Justice and others, 13 experts from Brazil, Chile. Colombia, South Africa and the USA had 10 minutes each to try to persuade the Court to find an immediate constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry, as the Supreme Court of the United States did on 26 June.  There were also video statements by Prof. Robert George of Princeton University (the US Supreme Court made a “horrible mistake”) and retired Justice Albie Sachs of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (explaining his court’s 2005 decision).