Same-sex marriage in Uruguay
Same-sex marriage became legal in Uruguay on August 5, 2013. A bill for legalization was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on December 12, 2012 in a vote of 81–6. The Senate approved it with some minor amendments on April 2, 2013, in a 23–8 vote. The amended bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in a 71–21 vote on April 10 and was signed by the President on May 3, 2013. As of January 2015, Uruguay is one of seventeen countries to have legalised same-sex marriage.
On January 1, 2008, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to have a national civil union law, titled Ley de Unión Concubinaria.
The bill for legalization, proposed by Senator Margarita Percovich of the Broad Front, was passed in Chamber of Deputies on November 29, 2007 after having been passed in a similar form in the Senate in 2006. The bill was passed by both chambers in the same form on December 19 and signed into law by president Tabaré Vázquez on December 27. It came into effect on January 1, 2008. First union was performed on April 17, 2008.
Following the approval of a bill both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are allowed to enter into a civil union (unión concubinaria) after they live together for at least five years, and are entitled to most of the benefits that married couples are afforded, including social security entitlements, inheritance rights and joint ownership of goods and property.
A government-backed bill allowing same-sex couples to adopt children was discussed in the national parliament in the spring of 2008, receiving the support of President Vázquez and fierce opposition from the Catholic Church. The bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 27 August 2009 by a 40–13 vote and by the Senate on 9 September 2009 with a 17–6 vote. Thus, Uruguay became the first country in South America where same-sex couples could jointly adopt.
On May 25, 2009 Senator Percovich said if Broad Front won the national elections in October 2009 it would introduce a same-sex marriage bill. In October the Broad Front won an absolute majority in both chambers and José Mujica, the Broad Front presidential candidate, won the presidential election on November 29, 2009. In July 2010 legislators of the ruling party Broad Front announced plans to submit the bill that would allow same-sex marriage. Michelle Suárez Bértora, first transgender attorney in Uruguay, assisted in drafting the legislation for same-sex marriage as part of her work with the LGBT rights organization “Ovejas Negras” (Black Sheep). On July 25, 2010, former president Julio María Sanguinetti of the Colorado Party declared his support for legalization of same-sex marriage. Other former president and incumbent senator Luis Alberto Lacalle of the National Party stated his opposition.
In April 2011, Sebastián Sabini, a legislator of the Movement of Popular Participation, one of the parties consisting the Broad Front, presented the bill allowing same-sex couples to marry. The bill was formally submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on September 6, 2011.
In June 2012, a judicial court in Uruguay recognized a foreign same-sex marriage. The ruling also stated that local laws already permit same-sex marriage, even if they don't say so, and that Uruguayans who marry overseas can go to a judge and have their marriage recognized under Uruguayan law. However, that ruling was appealed.
In June 2012, the Minister of Education and Culture said that the project to legalize same-sex marriage in the country was going to be debated in parliament before the end of 2012. On July 4, 2012, the Chamber of Deputies's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee started the debate on the issue. The committee initially approved the bill on November 28, 2012. On December 5, the committee amended the bill and gave its final approval.
On December 12, the Chamber of Deputies approved the bill by 81 out of the 87 MPs present and sent it to the Senate. On March 19, 2013, the Senate's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee passed the bill with some minor amendments. The Senate approved the amended bill on April 2, 2013, in a 23-8 vote. On April 10, 2013, the Chamber of Deputies approved the amended bill in a 71-21 vote. On May 3, it was signed by President and took effect on August 5, 2013.
Factum poll, conducted in November 2011, found that 52% supported same-sex marriage, 32% were opposed, 10% were neutral and 6% had no opinion.
According to Cifra poll, conducted between 29 November and 6 December 2012, 53% of Uruguayans supported same-sex marriage, 32% were opposed and 15% had no opinion.
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- Uruguay votes to legalise gay marriage
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