Judges on the country’s Constitutional Court issued their 5-4 ruling after it heard the cases of two gay couples — Efraín Soria and Javier Benalcázar and Rubén Salazar and Carlos Verdesoto — who are seeking the right to marry in the South American country.
“There are no words to express how we feel right now,” said Danilo Manzano Navas, director of Diálogo Diverso, a Quito-based advocacy group, in a Facebook Live video he recorded after the court announced its ruling.
Activists on Wednesday gathered in Quito’s Plaza Foch to celebrate the ruling.
Fundación Pakta, another Quito-based advocacy group that represents the couples, on its Facebook page said “we won.” Randy Boissonnault, who advises Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on LGBTI issues, is among those around the world who also celebrated the ruling.
“This is a triumph for equality, and another victory for human rights around the world,” said Boissonnault in a tweet.
Neighboring Colombia is among the more than two dozen countries around the world that allow same-sex couples to legally marry.
Ecuador’s 2008 constitution defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but it also contains an amendment that allows gays and lesbians to enter into civil unions.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in January 2018 issued a landmark ruling that recognizes same-sex marriage and other rights in the Western Hemisphere. Ecuador is among the countries in the Americas that recognize the tribunal.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday’s ruling orders Ecuadorian lawmakers to pass a same-sex marriage bill.