SANTIAGO – The Court of Appeals ruled that the Civil Registry must register a set of twins with the surnames of its two mothers. A precedent now exists for same-sex parents and their children. It stresses that the definition of a family should not be understood in restrictive ways that alienate non-traditional family environments.
The Movement of Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh) reported that a set of twins will be registered with the surnames of the two mothers thanks to a ruling made by the Sixth Chamber of the Court of Appeals on Oct. 10.
The twins, born in Sept. 2017, were conceived by artificial insemination with an anonymous donor. In Nov. 2018, the mothers approached the Civil Registry to register their children with both of their surnames. The Civil Registry rejected this request.
The mothers, with the support of Movilh, brought the case to the Court of Appeals, which decided that the Civil Registry is required to register both mothers’ surnames.
Un paso a la igualdad: Corte de Apelaciones ordena inscribir a mellizos con apellidos de sus dos madres https://t.co/YOHFWSBRKo
— Movilh Chile (@Movilh) October 10, 2019
Surnames in Law
According to Movilh, the Civil Registry, in its claim to the court, called on “Article 126 of the Decree with Force of Law (DFL) No. 2128 of 1930, which states that, in Chile, people’s surnames or family names are composed of a paternal and maternal surname.”
The Court of Appeals dismissed this position. Instead, it emphasized that, according to the same DFL, “if only the maternity of a child is determined, the paternal surname will be one that the mother declares and the maternal surname will be the mother’s paternal surname.”
The ruling stressed that the definition of a family should not be understood in restrictive ways that alienate non-traditional family environments, such as single parents. Therefore, it argued that “homosexual couples should receive the same protection as couples which are not.”
A Divided Decision
The appellate decision was not unanimous: two judges voted in favor and one voted against.
Judge Guillermo de la Barra voted against the mothers’ case, arguing that “maternity is determined by the fact of childbirth, a condition that only one of the applicants fulfills.”
Judge Maritza Villadangos voted in favor of the case, asserting that the Civil Registry “committed an illegal act” because it rejected the initial claim solely due to the biological sex of one of the applicants. She argued that if the couple were heterosexual, then the Civil Registry would not have rejected their request. Therefore, the act was illegal, since any discrimination based on biological sex is unlawful.
A Better Future?
According to BioBioChile, Movilh’s spokeswoman, Daniela Andrade, celebrated the decision, saying, “with this sentence, progress has been made for a better quality of life for the sons and daughters of same-sex couples.”
However, LGBT people in Chile still have more battles to fight to reach complete equality with heterosexual and cisgender Chileans. This is especially true in terms of the legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples.
Ana Truesdale is a British student, studying Liberal Arts at Durham Univeristy, who is currently interning at Chile Today on her year abroad. She has a strong interest in Latin American culture and journalism and wishes to experience all that Chile has to offer.