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Colombia: Liberal in theory, homophobic in practice
Sexual minorities in Colombia face a strange disconnect between the country's laws, which are among the world's most progressive in guaranteeingtheir rights, and the reality of homophobia faced by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community. Recent news and polls show that Colombian society remains intolerant of sexual diversity,despite the recent hailing in American press of the country as a "gay travel hotspot."
The state does not always enforce in reality the rights it guarantees to homosexuals in theory. As NGO ColombiaDiversa told Colombia Reports, there is a general lack of state effort to apply laws such as that giving homosexual couples access to the same rights as married couples (except for adoption). Somehomosexuals are able to take advantage of their full legal rights, but Colombia Diversa observes that many civil servants are obstructive, finding excuses to avoid performing the "factual matrimonialunion" ceremonies for gay couples. This reality undermines the respect for sexual diversity and protection against sexual discrimination guaranteed to LGBT groups by law, thus leading many homosexualsto doubt the authorities' commitment to safeguarding gay rights. Colombia Diversa recently expressed its concern about the fact that Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez has been enabled by theConstitutional Court to legislate over same sex marital unions, on the grounds that his religious and personal views prevent him from being "neutral and objective" about gay rights.
Nevertheless, recentefforts by certain institutions to take into account the interests of the LGBT community should be acknowledged. Last week, national police Brigadier General Jose Roberto Leon came to Medellin,Colombia's second city, to talk to LGBT representatives about the security of their community and its relationship with the police. The official announced that the temporary administrative order on special...
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