Constitutional court ruling a marker for gay rights

15 January 2017

Peru’s Constitutional Court last week ruled that a gay marriage celebrated in Mexico is valid in Peru. Oscar Ugarteche, the Peruvian economist who married Fidel Aroche in 2010, has fought long and hard to seek this recognition. The Court’s ruling may possibly open the door a little more to gay marriage in Peru. Ugarteche, one of the founders of the gay movement in Peru, based his case on the constitutional precept of equality before the law. However, he faced opposition from Reniec, the civil registry, which cited the Civil Code as saying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

Textually, the Court ordered Reniec “to comply in recognising and registering the marriage held abroad by the plaintiff in the civil register.” Ugarteche first applied for such official recognition in January 2012, but this was turned down. He then sought judicial remedy. “It has been a hard battle” he is quoted as saying. However, Reniec can still appeal the decision of the constitutional court.

The legalisation of gay marriage in Peru has been voted down by the Congress in Peru where conservative positions predominate. The Catholic Church, and in particular the super-conservative cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, has made its opposition to gay marriage abundantly clear.

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