Outspoken marriage supporter Michelle Bachelet elected president of Chile

On Sunday, December 15, Chilean voters overwhelmingly elected Michelle Bachelet as the president. Bachelet served as president in Chile from 2006 until 2010 before leaving the post because of a Constitutional law limiting the president from running in successive terms. 

She has been an important supportive voice for LGBT people and the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Latin America, working to fuel the conversation about why marriage matters and why LGBT people should be treated equally in Chile. 

When she previously ran for president of Chile, Bachelet was supportive of establishing civil union in the country, which would have extended some of the protections of marriage - but none of the dignity or fairness - to same-sex couples. She quickly evolved on the topic, explaining in a 2013 interview:

Eight years ago, I spoke about civil unions, and we made preparations in that direction. The world has progressed, I think Chile has progressed, and the family model has changed in our country. ... Marriage equality, I believe we have to make happen.

In Chile, same-sex couples do not have the freedom to mary, but in several other Latin American countries, same-sex couples have made large gains in recent years. In Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, same-sex couples have the freedom to marry across the country, and in Mexico, some states have extended marriage protections. 

18 countries will have the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide beginning next year: The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina, Denmark, France, New Zealand, and Great Britain. Two others have taken regional steps to allow same-sex couples to share in the freedom to marry in parts of the country: Mexico and the United States. 

Learn all about the freedom to marry internationally HERE.