The Chamber of Deputies in Uruguay has approved the bill legalizing marriage equality and adoption on Wednesday with support from 71 of the 92 members, following passage of the legislation through the country’s Senate last week.
“We are living a historic moment,” said Black Sheep Collective Leader Federico Grana in a press release.
“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.”
Grana and the rest of his LGBT rights group drafted the proposal while President Jose Mujica and his governing Broad Front majority supported the law.
Under the new provisions, gay couples will be allowed to adopt, undergo in-vitro fertilization procedures, and decide on surnames for their kin.
Approved by ample majorities in both legislative houses, the bill will also allow both spouses to request and receive a divorce. The legal age to marry also increased to 16 years of age instead of 12 for girls and 14 years of age for boys.
Uruguay celebrated with rainbow flags flying and electronic music roaring.
“I have all the rights and obligations of everyone else,” 62-year-old retired and openly gay Roberto Acosta said in a press release. “I pay my taxes and fulfill my responsibilities, why would I be discriminated against?”
Opposition was present as Nationalist Senator Gerardo Amarilla said that the bill hinders the family’s role in procreation and “debases the institution of marriage.”
The bill will take effect within 10 days using the gender-neutral term “contracting parties” instead of “husband and wife.”
The Roman Catholic Church in Uruguay opposed the law and urged lawmakers to vote with their conscience. They perceived the “marriage equality” label as a false pretext and said that it’s “not justice but an inconsistent assimilation that will only further weaken marriage.”
Uruguay is the third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to approve marriage equality.
“In the last ten years, society has moved forward on these themes,” Ovejas Negras’ Maurício Coitiño told 429Magazine. “Undoubtedly this is a step towards legal equality in Uruguay, although we still lack equality policies.”
The moment the law was passed: