Uruguay votes to make same-sex marriage legal nationwide

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Uruguay is to become the 12th country in the world to make it legal for same-sex couples to marry nationwide after Congress ratified a bill passed last week in the Senate.

71 of 92 politicians in the lower house voted for equal marriage, the country’s president Jose Mujica is expected to sign the bill into law today.

The bill to legalise same-sex marriage passed the Senate 23 votes to eight last week.

11 other countries currently allow all same-sex couples to marry: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Three further countries allow same-sex marriage in some regions, states or cities: Brazil, Mexico and the United States. Israel recognises same-sex marriages performed in certain other countries but does not allow them to be held within the country. France, Scotland, England and Wales are all expected to make same-sex marriage legal this year.

Opposition politician, Fernando Amado of the centre-right Colorado party said: “I agree that family is the basis of society but I also believe that love is the basis of family. And love is neither homosexual nor heterosexual.”

This most recent vote was not the first time that the country’s lower house has voted on equal marriage. The Marriage Equality Law, approved on 11 December by the lower house, was backed by the governing coalition. This most recent vote was on a number of minor modifications.

In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow openly gay members of the armed forces.

Uruguay’s neighbour Argentina legalised equal marriage in 2010.