Manuel Bermudez, Victor Prada and Alejandro Rodríguez live together and consider themselves to be a family. On June 3 at 10:00am in Medellin’s Notary 6, they finally realized their goal of being recognized as a family, consummating the first wedding between three men in Colombia.
The document signed by the men certifies them as a “régimen patrimonial especial de treja”, effectively a three-person marriage. The decision is extraordinary given Colombia’s strong catholic heritage where there is very little separation between religion and state.
The motivation behind this recognition of the trio was about more than social justice. The judge’s decision allows them to receive the pension of their fourth partner, Alex Esneider, who passed away three years ago.
“We were four, but our partner Alex Esneider Zabala died three years ago. We just won the decision in the first trial to receive the joint pension, when a judge in Medellin awarded it to us and denied it to Esneider’s mother. That made us consider that we had to cover all the bases on the legal front”, stated Bermudez, who clarified that this pension was only given to Alejandro and him because Victor did not live with Alex the necessary 5 years required by law.
The lawyer that redacted the document, German Humberto Rincon Perfetti, was the same that in 2000 filed the paperwork that allowed Alejandro and Manuel to marry. Times were more difficult then because the notary´s offices in Medellin refused to marry them and they had to go to Bogota to celebrate their legal union.
Polygamy or Marriage?
Critics have charged that the union between the three men amounts to polygamy, something that is strictly forbidden by Colombian law. However Rincon explained that the document signed is legal as it is not technically a marriage but a family union, in accordance with article 42 of the Colombian constitution.
Manuel is a journalist, and Alejandro a sports educator, and have been together for 18 years. They lived with Alex for 10 years, and Victor, professional actor, came to the family 4 years ago. They live in their own house, in the Robledo neighborhood. According to Bermudez, the family has been well received in the neighborhood.
The next s
tep for Manuel, Alejandro and Victor will be to perform the wedding ceremony. They have not yet set a date because the legalization of their union caught them by surprise in a way: they didn’t expect this to be so fast. In total, it just took only two weeks.
The Politics of Family Unions
Colombia, a traditionally conservative state, has seen a move to the left in recent years, with the election of communist Gustavo Petro to the mayor’s office in Bogota in 2011, and recent moves by Santos, Colombia’s president, since his election in 2010. In general, Antioquia is considered to be more conservative than Bogota, Colombia’s capital city.
Members of Colombia’s liberal political parties, unofficially led by former mayor and likely 2018 presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, have pushed hard for social reforms including legalized abortion, gay marriage and the separation of religion from government affairs.