For the first time in Colombia, a judge has recognised the civil union of a gay couple.

One of the couple spoke to the Associated Press to say that he considered himself “civilly married” to his partner.

About 100 people attended the ceremony for Gonzalo Ruiz and Carlos Hernando Rivera. The couple have been together for two decades.

Back in April, the Congress in Colombia failed to pass a law legalising civil unions.

“Marriage is a fundamental right,” said Senator Luís Carlos Avellaneda at the time. “The principal of equality extends the same protection to all Colombians without discrimination.”

In 2011, the Colombian Constitutional Court issued a ruling that required politicians to ‘repair the deficit of legal protection’ for same-sex couples in the country by the 20 June 2013 or same-sex couples would be granted the right to marry. However, in 2009, a court ruled that this would not mean the right to adopt, as straight couples have the right to do.

The Colombian Senate in 2007 also defeated a bill which could have allowed civil unions for same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.