Excellent news to report from the South American nation of Uruguay. After several delays earlier this year, a marriage equality and adoption bill has been introduced in the General Assembly, reports the Associated Press.
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.
It was drafted by gay rights activists activists in the so-called "Black Sheep Collective" and now has the support of lawmakers in the ruling Broad Front coalition, which decided Wednesday to debate the measure next week in the House of Deputies' constitutional commission.
"Today's society is much broader than the heterosexual, and the civil code should reflect this: a marriage institution that applies equally to all," Federico Grana, a member of the collective, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This goes well beyond homosexuality — it's a law that gives all the same rights and responsibilities."
Uruguay's Roman Catholic Church is opposed the bill. No surprise there.
In July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Marriage equality has been the law in Mexico City since December 2009. Those same sex marriages are recognized in all of Mexico's 31 states. Brazil's Supreme Court unanimously approved civil unions for same-sex couples in May 2011.
The 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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