Three Colombian men have had their partnership legally validated in Colombia, and their attorney believes their civil union is not just a Colombian first, but also a global one.
The union was made last month when on June 3 a public notary in Medellin signed the paperwork formalizing the union between Victor Hugo Prada, Manuel Bermudez and Alejandro Rodriguez. As with unions between two persons, all three are equal partners in the relationship.
Their lawyer, German Rincon-Perfetti says legally theirs is not a marriage. "By Colombian law a marriage is between two people, so we had to come up with a new word: a special patrimonial union,” he told the Guardian.
Unions of three are typically informal, and in English they are known by the vernacular term "trouple" or as Prada says, a "trieja.”
But theirs is no temporary relationship. “We were already a family before this. The paperwork just formalised it,” he says.
Prada 23, is the newest member of the family. They were four, but Alex Esneider Zabala died of stomach cancer three years ago. His death made his partners realize how important the legal designation would be. Bermudez and Rodriguez had just won the legal battle to be granted Esneider's pension.
The civil union that allows them to live as a treja gives them legal protection and rights if any partner decides to leave the union, or if a member dies. As Bermudez tells El Universal, they have the right to live as a family and their union is one of love. He also explains that after Esneider died they wanted to make sure that they could die with dignity.
It is important to note that this is the second ground breaking union for Bermudez and Rodriguez. In 2000 they were the first homosexual couple to have their relationship formally recognized in Colombia.
As for Prada, he wants a special ceremony to celebrate his marriage to Bermudez and Rodriguez. He tells the Guardian he wants a female priest to officiate and will have cultural elements in the ceremony to honor his partners, including the member of Esneider.