In April 2013 same-sex marriage officially passed Uruguay’s Senate, making Uruguay the second South American country to legalize marriage equality. After a ninety-day waiting period, the law finally came into effect and gay couples are officially permitted to set the date.
Activists report that approximately half a dozen couples will schedule dates at the civil registry in the next few days.
Argentina was the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Mexico City legalized marriage equality in 2009, but it has not been made legal throughout Mexico.
Uruguay’s first same-sex marriage was celebrated by the union of two men, and took place in a hospital in the country’s capital of Montevideo, where one groomsman lay quite ill with cancer.
Once registered, there is usually a ten-day waiting period before a couple can officially tie the knot. However, because of the man’s sickness, the couple was able to expedite the process and wed immediately.
Following the first marriage of the day, TV producer Sergio Miranda and his fiancé Rodrigo Borda, who have been partners for fourteen years, were the next to register and are planning to marry later in the month.
“This is an historic day for us and for the country,” Borda said, according to USA Today. “No longer will there be first- and second-class citizens. This will be seen in many countries where this option still isn’t possible, and hopefully help people in those places live more freely.”
Under the liberal leadership of President Jose Mujica, Uruguay has also decriminalized abortion and plans to legalize marijuana.