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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
Uruguay Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage
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 would make Uruguay the third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to eliminate laws...   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

(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.

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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. (Read more gay marriage stories.)

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