Uruguay’s Same-Sex Marriage Law Takes Effect
As reported in BBC News, today Rodrigo Borda and Sergio Miranda became the first same-sex couple to register to marry in Uruguay, just hours after the law legalizing gay took effect in the country. The couple plans to marry in September.
The marriage equality bill, which passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of the legislature last April and was signed into law by President José Mujica in May, makes Uruguay the second country in Latin America to offer full marriage rights to all of its citizens.
Uruguay joins its neighboring South American country, Argentina along with Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa and Sweden where same-sex marriages are recognized on a national level. A law passed in in April legalizing gay marriage in New Zealand takes effect later this month. Last month, Queen Elizabeth II, signed a bill extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales that will take effect in 2014.
The marriage laws in Argentina and Uruguay are examples of the wave of equality sweeping through Latin America.
Since 2011 in Columbia, gay couples have unsuccessfully petitioned judges to have their relationships recognized through marriage. In July, a judge of a Civil Court in Bogotá declared a male same-sex couple legally married, after a ruling to accept their petition, making them the first same-sex couple married in Colombia
In May, Brazil's National Council of Justice ruled that government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to reject gay couples, thus giving the largest country in South America a green light to marriage equality.
Mexico's marriage laws are similar to the United States where marriage is legislated on the state level. Currently two of Mexico's 31 states allow same-sex marriage and two other states have passed civil union laws.
In the United States, same-sex marriages are legal in thirteen states, the District of Columbia and five Native American tribes. And although six states prohibit same-sex marriage by statue and 29 states have laws banning it in their constitution, as a result of the recent Supreme Court decision in case of United States v. Windsor, the U.S. government now legally recognizes same-sex marriage on the federal level.