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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 15
Marriage equality bill introduced in Uruguay
Section One
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Marriage equality bill introduced in Uruguay

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A bill to legalize same-sex marriages was introduced in Uruguay's parliament, the General Assembly, on April 13.

Because the bill was introduced by the country's government coalition - the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) - it is considered likely to pass before the end of the year.

Frente Amplio has a majority in both houses of the Assembly. Uruguay's president, Jose Mujica, also represents the Frente Amplio.

The bill's author, Sebastián Sabini, told El Mercurio newspaper, that there was 'good support and no opposition' for the measure among his colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Uruguay's parliament.

'We do not focus so much on the issue of Gay marriage but of equal marriage regardless of sex, gender, or religion,' Sabini said.

The bill would amend the country's Civil Code to refer to spouses instead of husband and wife, meaning that Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Intersex people would be covered.

The measure would also allow non-biological parents in a marriage to be given parental rights and obligations to their partners' biological children.

On January 1, 2008, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to have a national civil union law, titled 'Ley de Unión Concubinaria.'

The law allows both same-sex and opposite-sex couples to enter into a civil union (unión concubinaria) after they live together for at least five years. Such couples are then entitled to most of the benefits that married couples are afforded, including social security entitlements, inheritance rights, and joint ownership of goods and property.

In 2008, Uruguay also passed a new adoption law, allowing same-sex couples to jointly adopt children - a first for South America.

Same-sex relations have been legal in Uruguay since 1934.

In 1927, Uruguay became the first South American country to allow women to vote.

Argentina became the first South American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Mexico City also allows same-sex marriages, and the Mexican state of Coahuila allows same-sex civil unions.

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in August 2010 that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City must be recognized throughout the country.

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