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.