The South American nation of Uruguay is reportedly preparing to debate legislation that would mandate marriage equality before the year's end. That's according to Spain's largest newspaper which is translated by On Top Magazine.
Uruguay already permits same-sex civil unions. If the new law is legalized, it would become South America's second nation after Argentina to legalize marriage equality.
Paul Maqueira of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) told El Pais that an initial draft of the measure had already been prepared. "The idea is to promote a marriage equality project so that gay couples have equal access to marriage as heterosexuals," he said. Maqueira declined to say when the proposal might reach lawmakers but said he felt this would happen “before the end of the year.”
The move comes a week after a court in Uruguay for the first time recognized the legal marriage of a gay couple. Judge Eduardo Martinez recognized on appeal the legality of a marriage entered into in Spain, where Socialists legalized marriage equality in 2005. The binational couple lives in both Uruguay and Spain.
In July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. Marriage equality is also the law in Mexico City. Brazil's Supreme Court unanimously approved civil unions for same-sex couples in May 2011.
The report becomes only the latest news from a continent that is rapidly embracing LGBT rights. Argentina's Senate unanimously approved a landmark gender identity bill in May that mandated access to sex reassignment surgery for transgender persons. Chile approved anti-discrimination legislation that protected sexual orientation only one month earlier.
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