Colombia's Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of allowing same-sex marriage in the mostly Catholic nation.
The 6-3 decision by magistrates follows a long legal battle on the issue in the country's highest court, which saw it rule in 2011 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same protections as opposite sex couples. That decision also stipulated that the Colombian Congress needed to pass legislation addressing marriage equality within two years. A same-sex marriage bill was subsequently defeated.
Local LGBT organisation Colombia Diversa issued a statement following the ruling, calling it a "landmark decision".
"The Constitutional Court of Colombia established that marriage is the only legal institution [that can] address the deficit of protection for same-sex couples and that there is no basis to deny it," it said.
"This ruling enabled the possibility of civil marriage [for] same-sex couples according to the interpretation of judges and lawyers."
The deputy director of Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Global, Jean Freedberg, said the ruling was an important moment for LGBT Colombians.
“Following victories for LGBT advocates in Ireland in May and in the United States in June, today’s ruling makes clear that global momentum for marriage equality has continued to grow, and we’re hopeful that other nations will provide same-sex couples the right to marry the person they love in the year ahead.”
Australian Greens marriage equality spokesperson Senator Robert Simms applauded the decision
“Another country has shown Australia’s government that there is no need for an expensive opinion poll to make marriage equality a reality,” Senator Simms said.
“Australia has been lagging behind for way too long.”
Colombia is the fourth Latin American country to introduce same-sex marriage, following Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Several parts of Mexico also allow same-sex couples to marry, and 31 of its states are required to recognise married gay couples. The Colombian Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex couples were able to adopt children.