Uruguay Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Becomes just third country in Americas to do so, after Canada and Argentina

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 11, 2013 6:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Uruguay yesterday became the third country in the Americas, after Canada and Argentina, to legalize gay marriage, passing with the backing of 71 out of 92 lawmakers present, reports the AP. The new law changes marriage contracts for all, straight and gay, to gender-neutral language, referring to "contracting parties" instead of "husband and wife." "We are living a historic moment," said a gay rights leader who helped draft the legislation. The law is expected to take effect within 10 days.

As the bill's passage was announced, LGBT supporters outside congress jumped and danced in celebration. The measure also allows all couples to adopt or undergo in-vitro fertilization procedures, as well as updating Uruguay's divorce laws so men and women can request a divorce, instead of the previous, 100-year-old law that only allowed women to renounce their wedding vows. "I have all the rights and obligations of everyone else. I pay my taxes and fulfill my responsibilities, why would I be discriminated against?" said one gay retiree.

A same sex marriage activist holds up a multi-colored fan outside Parliament where lawmakers are expected to vote on a same sex marriage law in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Their vote...   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
People celebrate after lawmakers voted to legalize same sex marriage inside Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the...   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
A man holds up a gay pride flag as he and others celebrate after lawmakers legalized same sex marriage inside Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The vote makes Uruguay the third...   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
People celebrate in parliament after lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage in Montevideo, Uruguay,Wednesday, April 10, 2013. President Jose Mujica's ruling Broad Front majority is expected to put the...   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
People celebrate outside the Parliament after lawmakers passed the "marriage equality project" in Montevideo, Uruguay, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
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