Uruguay has become only the second Latin American country to legalise gay marriage.
71 out of 92 members of parliament voted in favour of gay marriage after pressure from homosexual rights organisations, many of whom were present in the courtroom when the bill was given the green light. Civil unions have been allowed since 2008.
“Tomorrow we will have a fairer, more equal society with more rights for all,” said Sebastián Sabini, deputy of la coalición oficialista Frente Amplio (FA).
The bill states that “civil marriage is the permanent union, pursuant of the law, of two people of different or the same sex”. The Catholic Church has severely questioned the new law, which was originally approved in December 2012 by the Chamber of Deputies in a vote of 81-6, before recently being ratified by the Senate with some minor amendments on 2nd April in a 23-8 vote.
The new bill is made up of 29 articles and states that homosexual unions have the same rights as couples formed by a man and woman. Following the approval, Uruguay now joins Argentina as the only two countries in Latin America where same sex couples can legally get married.
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in much of Europe including Spain, Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium. Mexico City, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, and the Brazilian state of Alagoas also allow gay marriage.