Uruguay Becomes 12th Country In The World To Legalize Gay Marriage

uruguay-gay-flagUruguayan lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage and adoption Wednesday, becoming the second South American country and 12th nation globally to do so.

According to the AP, the bill received the support of 71 of 92 members present in the Chamber of Deputies:

The “marriage equality project,” as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both legislative houses, but senators made some changes that required a final vote by the deputies. Among them: Gay and lesbian foreigners will now be allowed to come to Uruguay to marry, just as heterosexual couples can, said Michelle Suarez of the Black Sheep Collective [a gay rights group that drafted the proposal].

President Jose Mujica, whose governing Broad Front majority backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days.

The vote makes Uruguay the third country in the Americas to embrace marriage equality, after Canada and the U.S. Argentina, and the 12th country in the world.

Uruguay’s law, however, goes a step further than most by making a uniform set of rules for all couples, gay and straight alike:

-the words “husband and wife” in marriage contracts will be changed to the gender-neutral “contracting parties”

-all couples will get to decide which parent’s surname comes first when they have children

– all couples can adopt, or undergo in-vitro fertilization

-the age when people can legally marry has gone from 12 for girls and 14 for boys to 16 for both genders

-divorce laws have also been updated so that either spouse can request and be granted a divorce — interestingly, a 1912 law provided that only women could request a divorce in an effort to give women an equal share of power to men

“We are living a historic moment,” said Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective. “In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days after the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July.”

Meanwhile, we hope the Supreme Court is taking a note and that Uruguay is ready for a huge surge in LGBT tourism. Perhaps a name change is in order: Uragay, anyone?

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