Gay Uruguay: Congress Starts Voting on Equal Marriage Law

The country’s parliament began voting this week on 29 articles that will amend the century-old civil code to legalize same-sex marriage.

After postponing vote hearings twice in the past year, Uruguay’s congress will decide on a same-sex marriage bill introduced by one of the country’s LGBT rights group, Colectivo Ovejas Negras, or Black Sheep Collective. Parliament will debate one-by-one the 29 articles that would modify the country’s century-old civil code to include same-sex couples under marriage, granting rights for legal registration and adoption.

The proposed legislation has also advanced with the help of the ruling Broad Front party despite opposition from the Catholic Church and dissenting parties. Opposing parties are concerned with including same-sex couples under the definition of marriage and are seeking alternatives where the requested rights are granted without amending the civil code.

Deputy Gustavo Borsari of the National Unity coalition told El Observador in Uruguay that he proposes a title of ‘free unions’, that would include the rights and privileges of marriage for same-sex couples without legalizing gay marriage.

Uruguay has already legalized civil unions between same-sex couples. In June 2012, the country recognized its first foreign gay marriage, sparking controversy over the fact that the country will marry foreign couples but not nationals.

The gay marriage measure will be debated next week in the House of Deputies’ constitutional commission. Uruguay could become the second South American country to legalize gay marriage, after Argentina.

Federico Grana, a member of the Black Sheep Collective, told AP in an interview: ‘Today’s society is much broader than the heterosexual, and the civil code should reflect this: a marriage institution that applied equally to all. This goes well beyond homosexuality – it’s a law that gives all the same rights and responsibilities’.

by Jean Paul Zapata
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