Chile passes hate crime bill in the wake of gay man's killing

Published: May 10, 2012

In the wake of a national outcry over the homophobic killing of a young man, the Chilean Congress has approved an anti-discrimination bill that outlaws discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, and/or sexual orientation.
 
The bill had languished in Congress for over seven years, but was finally fast-tracked to approval by the President, Sebastian Pinera, and it cleared its final hurdle with a 25-3 vote in the Senate.
 
The killing of a gay man, Daniel Zamundio, earlier this year by a neo-Nazi groups provoked a national soul-searching in Chile, where the anti-discrimination bill was prevented from being passed by religious groups, who contended that it would constitute the first step towards “gay marriage.”
 
Senator Alberto Espina said in a statement: “It’s an enormous culture change for our country… Chile is a country that discriminates a lot for being (indigenous) Mapuche, for being gay, for your nationality, for having disabilities. We have to acknowledge this and not sweep it under the carpet.”

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