Uruguay’s Congress has legalized same sex marriage in a move that sparked scenes of celebration outside Parliament on Thursday.
The South American nation is now the 12th country in the world to make the practice legal. Supporters of the law filled the public seats in the legislative building. They cheered in celebration after the bill was passed by 71 of the 92 members of the Chamber of Deputies present.
The proposal was drafted by gay rights group the Black Sheep Collective. It was called the “marriage equality project” and was approved by ample majorities in both of Uruguay’s legislative houses.
Along with allowing citizens of Uruguay to marry, foreigners will also be allowed to come to Uruguay for same-sex marriage. The practice is already allowed for heterosexual couples. President José Mujica, whose Broad Front majority backed the gay marriage law, will likely implement it in the next 10 days.
While the majority of lawmakers approved of the law, it did have some objections. Senator Gerardo Amarilla of the Nationalist Party was one objector. He claimed that the law would debase “the institution of marriage” and affect the family.
While some countries have created a new set of rules and terms for same-sex couples, Uruguay will create a single set of rules for all people. Instead of using the words “husband and wife” in marriage contracts, the gender neutral “contracting parties” will be present.
Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective, stated of the gay marriage legalization:
“We are living in a historic moment. In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days from the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July.”
Along with legalizing gay marriage, the law also updates divorce practices, changes the age for legal marriage, and allows all couples to adopt or undergo IVF procedures. All couples will also choose which parents surname comes first when they have kids.
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