Recognition of same-sex unions in Ecuador
De facto unions for same-sex couples were legalized by the approval of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador including all the rights of marriage except for joint adoption. The first reported de facto union was recognised in August 2009.
Since early in the 20th century, heterosexual civil unions (requiring two years of living together) have enjoyed the same rights as civil marriage. In the late 19th century, the liberal revolution led by Eloy Alfaro established a clear separation between state and church. Since the consolidation of this separation in the first decades of the 20th century, only civil marriage or unions have been recognized by the state.
During the debate over the 2008 Ecuadorian new constitution, LGBT organizations campaigned for the inclusion of same-sex unions in it. Civil unions for same-sex couples were included in Article 68 of the final draft of the constitution, even after big protests made by the Catholic Church and evangelical groups. Under the text of the new constitution, the only significant difference between homosexual and heterosexual unions was that adoptions by same-sex couples were not recognized. Adoption rights were the same for heterosexual civil unions as for civil marriages, but did not extend to same-sex unions. Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation had already been introduced in the 1998 constitution, Ecuador being among the first three countries in the world to adopt such a constitutional protection.
Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa, openly stated at the time that he wanted the document to allow same-sex unions. "Let's be clear that the profoundly humanistic position of this government is to respect the intrinsic dignity of everyone, of every human being, independently of their creed, race, sexual preference," Correa said. "We will give certain guarantees to stable gay couples but matrimony will continue being reserved for a man, a woman and the family." "Every person has dignity, that's to say, one must respect a person independently of their sexual preference. Be careful not to deny employment to someone because of their sexual preference. That is discrimination, that is unconstitutional."
Text of Article 68 of the Ecuador Constitution
In Spanish: Art. 68.- "La unión estable y monogámica entre dos personas libres de vínculo matrimonial que formen un hogar de hecho, por el lapso y bajo las condiciones y circunstancias que señale la ley, generará los mismos derechos y obligaciones que tienen las familias constituidas mediante matrimonio. La adopción corresponderá sólo a parejas de distinto sexo."
That is: "The stable and monogamous union between two persons, free of matrimonial bond, who form a de facto couple, for the duration and under the conditions and circumstances that the law provides, will generate the same rights and obligations as held by families built through marriage. Adoption will pertain only to couples of different sexes."
On 15 September 2014, the Directorate General of Civil Registry began registering de facto unions. This procedure was initially only available in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. A couple in a de facto union can now register their union nationwide.
On 21 April 2015, the National Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill which sought to amend the country's Civil Code to allow for civil unions. The bill was passed 89 to 1. President Rafael Correa signed the bill on 19 June 2015.
Same-sex marriage is constitutionally banned in Ecuador. Article 67 reads "Marriage is the union between man and woman based on the free consent of the parties and their equal rights, obligations and legal capacity. "
Support from political parties
During a series of interviews made by local newspaper El Universo before the 2013 Ecuadorian general election, two of the eight presidential candidates positioned themselves in favor of same-sex marriage. These were the leftist candidates Alberto Acosta, from the Plurinational Unity of the Lefts, and Norman Wray, from the Ruptura 25 movement. Incumbent President Rafael Correa, who also has a leftist ideology, didn't participate in the interviews. However, in a 2011 interview for Radio France Internationale, Correa said that he "couldn't accept" same-sex marriage or abortion, although when asked if he would oppose legislation legalizing any of them, Correa referred only to abortion when saying that he would certainly oppose it. On 17 February 2013 President Correa won the election by a wide margin. On 23 May 2013, Correa reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage.
On 5 August 2013, LGBT rights groups started a nationwide campaign under the name Matrimonio Civil Igualitario (Equal Civil Marriage) that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage in the country. The campaign was launched with a marriage petition made by activist Pamela Troya and her partner in the Civil Registry of Quito. The petition was rejected days later, citing the country's Constitution and its Civil Code as the reasons behind the negative. The couple announced on 8 August that they were filing a lawsuit in order to have a judge order the Civil Registry to marry them. The lawsuit was filed on 13 August and its resolution continues pending.
On 26 August 2013, a new couple went to the Civil Registry asking to be married, this time in Guayaquil. The couple, formed by Santiago Vinces y Fernando Saltos, walked through the city streets with a convoy of activists and supporters, including noted actress Érika Vélez, until they arrived to the Civil Registry. However, three days later, their marriage petition was denied, citing the same reasons given to the first couple.
On 4 March 2016, the province of Azuay approved an ordinance allowing symbolic same-sex marriages. The ordinance was unanimously approved by the Provincial Government. It allows for a same-sex couple to register their marriage with the Azuay Provincial Civil Registry, however, the marriage would only be symbolic.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Same-sex marriage in Ecuador.|
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- Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
- Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology