August 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Uruguay same-sex marriage law takes effect

Uruguay, Montevideo, gay news, Washington Blade

Uruguayan lawmakers earlier this year approved a same-sex marriage bill. (Photo by Fedaro via Wikimedia Commons)

Uruguay on Monday became the second Latin American country to allow gays and lesbians to legally marry when its same-sex marriage law took effect.

The South American nation’s first same-sex marriage took place in a hospital in which one of the men who tied the knot is dying of cancer.

Sergio Miranda and Rodrigo Borda, who have been together for 14 years, were the first gay couple to register to marry in Uruguay.

The couple plans to exchange vows next month.

“We feel good,” Miranda told the Uruguayan newspaper El País after he and Borda left a registrar’s office in Montevideo, the country’s capital. “As of today, we are starting to apply a law that eliminates discrimination.”

Uruguay also now recognizes the marriages of same-sex couples who legally married in other countries.

Federico Graña of Colectivo Ovejas Negras, a Uruguayan LGBT advocacy group, applauded the same-sex marriage law.

“Uruguay is once again in the headlines for expanding liberty and equality,” he tweeted earlier on Monday.

The country’s same-sex marriage law took effect three months after President José Mujica signed it. The measure received final approval in the Uruguay House of Representatives in April.

Neighboring Argentina is among the 11 countries in which gays and lesbians can legally marry.

Same-sex couples can also tie the knot in Mexico City and 13 U.S. states and D.C.

Two gay men on July 25 became the first legally recognized same-sex couple in Colombia when a judge in Bogotá, the country’s capital, solemnized their relationship. Brazil’s National Council of Justice in May ruled registrars in South America’s most populous nation cannot deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Gays and lesbians in New Zealand will be able to legally marry on August 19. The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are expected to take place next spring after a gay nuptials bill received final approval in the British House of Lords last month.

Angelica Lozano, a lesbian city councilwoman in the Colombian capital, is among the LGBT rights advocates throughout Latin America who praised Uruguay’s same-sex marriage law.

“Total respect and admiration to Uruguay and Uruguayans,” she tweeted. “Equality is unstoppable.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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