April 11, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Uruguay same-sex marriage bill receives final approval

Uruguay, Montevideo, gay news, Washington Blade

General Assembly of Uruguay (Photo by Fedaro via Wikimedia Commons)

The Uruguay House of Representatives on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry in the South American country.

The 71-21 vote came eight days after the measure passed in the country’s Senate.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the measure in December, but it had to vote on it again because it contained amendments the chamber needed to approve.

President José Mujica has previously said he will sign the measure into law.

“We are the 12th country in the world with equality for everyone,” Colectivo Ovejas Negras, an Uruguayan LGBT advocacy group, said in a post to its Facebook page after the bill received final approval. “Let’s celebrate Uruguayans!”

Neighboring Argentina, Mexico City and a handful of Brazilian states that include São Paulo allow nuptials for gays and lesbians. Same-sex couples can also marry in Canada, Iceland, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, South Africa and in nine U.S. states and D.C.

LGBT rights advocates throughout Latin America were quick to applaud the Uruguay vote.

“Today Uruguay has another face,” the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBT rights group, said in a statement. “A face that smiles because it respects difference and social diversity through the humanization of its domestic laws, breaking down prejudices and discrimination.”

“The approval of the marriage equality law in Uruguay in the month on April is a very positive signal for equality,” Esteban Paulón, president of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Federation of Argentina, noted after the bill passed in the Uruguay Senate on April 2. “It is a form of telling everyone that from the Southern Cone of America we remain committed to the equality of all families and couples and that this advance will surely be one of many that will come.”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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