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Chile enacts anti-discrimination law

(Xinhua)

11:15, July 13, 2012

SANTIAGO, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Chile's President Sebastian Pinera on Thursday signed into law a bill against racial, sexual and religious discrimination.

The Congress had refused to approve the bill, first proposed in 2005, amid fears it would lead to legalization of gay marriage.

However, the murder of a 24-year-old man called Daniel Zamudio in late March by a group of neo-Nazis spurred the legislators to adopt the bill in May, which came to be known as the Zamudio Law.

"Thanks to Daniel's sacrifice, today we have a new law to help build a freer, more humane, tolerant and friendly Chile," Pinera said at the signing ceremony.

The law obligates the government to take an active role in promoting tolerance, said the president.

"Discrimination based on prejudices still exists and that is why we need a firm hand to totally eradicate discrimination in our country," he added.

Under the law, violators can be punished with fines from 400 dollars to 4,000 dollars for acts of discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, disability and other factors.

Opponents of the law, however, said that it may pave the way for legalization of same-sex marriage.

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