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Colombia gay rights groups protest after court's gay marriage decision

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Activists hope Colombian lawmakers will legalize same-sex marriage
  • Justices vote to dismiss a lawsuit arguing for changes in Colombia's civil code
  • An activist says the government is violating citizens' rights
  • The lawsuit argues that marriage should not be defined between a man and a woman

(CNN) -- Gay rights advocates in Colombia planned to protest Friday after the nation's highest court rejected a lawsuit that could have legalized gay marriage.

Protesters are planning to gather in the central square of Bogota, the nation's capital, Friday, said Yeiler Manuel Tapia Barrios, an activist from the coastal town of Baranquilla.

"We feel that they are violating our rights as citizens. We also pay the same taxes," said Tapia, 24.

After a hearing Thursday, Colombia's Constitutional Court voted 5-4 to dismiss a lawsuit arguing for a change in the country's civil code that would allow same-sex marriage in the South American country, claiming there was not sufficient evidence to proceed, CNN affiliate Caracol TV reported.

The lawsuit, filed in September 2009, aimed to change the definition in the country's civil code which defines marriage as "a solemn contract through which a man and a woman unite," Caracol said.

Felipe Montoya, the lawyer who filed the suit, wanted judges to eliminate the expression "man and woman" from the code, Caracol reported. But the court ruled that the lawsuit did not have sufficient legal arguments for the court to take the case.

Tapia, who is hoping to attend Friday's protest, said activists are still hoping legislators in Colombia will pass a measure similar to one approved by Argentinian lawmakers earlier this year.

Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in July after lawmakers passed a bill giving same-sex couples equal marriage rights, including the ability to adopt children.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet and Edwin Mesa contributed to this report.