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On December 9, 2020, David Aruquipa and Guido Montaño became the first same-sex couple in Bolivia to be able to register their free union with the Civic Registry Service (Serecí). That historic moment was a hope for other same-sex couples who also began procedures in search of legal recognition of their union, but ended up pilgrimage in the administrative bureaucracy.
In a letter addressed to the new National Director of the Serecí, Javier Hinojosa Ledezma, Rights in Action and the Human Rights Community expose three cases of same-sex couples who have been waiting for up to 11 months to finalize their legal registration and express their hope that with the change of authorities its process is made viable.
“Heterosexual couples take 25 minutes to register; for the interested parties, it is taking almost a year,” reads the letter, which recalls that, on March 30, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed its concern to the Bolivian State that the registration requests had not been addressed. of these couples.
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The first case is of a couple of women who began their process of registration and certification of free union on May 13, 2021 and who managed to obtain a Hierarchical Administrative Resolution that gives way to the registration of their free union on January 21, after exhaust all administrative resources, but that he cannot finalize his registration because the Serecí of La Paz argues that an “adjustment” must be made in the computer system.
In this case, it is observed that this argument was not an impediment to registering the free union Aruquipa and Montaño. “Between the moment in which the National Serecí ordered the registration of these gentlemen and the moment in which it materialized, only nine days passed; in this case, they already add up to almost ninety”, it is indicated.
In the second case, another couple who initiated the administrative procedure before the Serecí on October 18, 2021, denounces that they had to wait almost six months to obtain a response to their first request and that in this case they were informed that they did not know how to proceed.
“The Serecí of La Paz issued a response in which it indicates that it had asked the National Serecí for legal criteria to know how to proceed in this case, but that it had not obtained any response from the higher authority. How is it possible that a legal criterion is sought on how to proceed, given the recent and clear Aruquipa-Montaño precedent?
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Finally, it is disclosed that on October 14, 2021, a third couple requested the Serecí to homologate their civil marriage carried out in 2019 in Argentina, but that this recognition was truncated under the argument that “national legislation does not contemplate marriages or free unions of people of the same sex.
Rights in Action and the Human Rights Community underline that Hinojosa was the authority of the Serecí that signed the Hierarchical Resolution 3/2020 that allowed David Aruquipa and Guido Montaño to become the first same-sex couple in Bolivia to be able to register their free union and in This framework asks him to instruct the personnel under his charge on effective and timely measures so that three same-sex couples can exercise their human rights to form a family recognized and protected by the Bolivian State.
“Mr. National Director, the six people affected in these administrative procedures, until now conducted arbitrarily by your predecessor and by the former Departmental Director of the Serecí of La Paz, we will continue processing our requests, because we adhere to the procedures and legality. We hope that you, for your part, will do the same now that you have the opportunity and the legal power to repair as soon as possible the faults committed by the officials removed from their posts. It depends on you, only on you”, the letter ends.