Chile passes anti-bias law after fatal gay bashing

After seven years of delay and only weeks after a gay man was severely tortured and beaten to death, Chile’s Congress passed an anti-discrimination law.

Four suspects, some of whom have criminal records for attacks on gays, have been arrested in the death of Daniel Zamudio. Prosecutors have asked for murder charges in the case. Zamudio, a clothing-store employee, was attacked in a park on March 3 as he left work. The suspects beat him for an hour, burned him with cigarettes and carved Nazi symbols into his body with knives. The leader of Chile’s Gay Liberation and Integration Movement, Rolando Jimenez, said the suspects should be charged with torture as well.

Zamudio was left for dead in the park and later found. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Chile to pass a new law against hate crimes and discrimination.

The law, which has been up for debate for more than seven years, was opposed by Protestant churches saying it could be a first step toward gay marriage, which Chile forbids. The Roman Catholic Church also expressed concerns about the law.

The law defines discrimination as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction that lacks reasonable justification, committed by agents of the state or individuals, and that causes the deprivation, disturbance or threatens the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights.”

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