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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:19 am 
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Uruguay's lower house approves gay marriage law
11 December 2012
By PABLO FERNANDEZ

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An activist wearing gay pride colors stands outside Parliament where lawmakers are debating a same sex marriage law in Montevideo, Uruguay, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012.
(AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Lawmakers in taboo-breaking Uruguay voted to legalize gay marriage late Tuesday night, approving a single law governing marriage for heterosexuals and homosexuals.

The proposal now goes to the Senate, where the ruling coalition has enough votes for passage. President Jose Mujica plans to sign it into law early next year. The proposal, which passed the lower house of Congress by a wide margin Tuesday, with 81 votes in favor out of 87 legislators present, would also let all couples, gay or straight, decide whose surname goes first when they name their children. That breaks with a tradition that has held for centuries across Latin America, where in nearly every country, laws require people to give their children two last names, and the father's comes first.

"It's an issue that will generate confusion in a society that has forever taken the father's name. But these changes in society have to be accepted," said Deputy Anibal Gloodtdofsky of the right-wing Colorado Party, who told The Associated Press he plans to join the ruling Broad Front coalition and vote in favor on Tuesday.

The "Marriage Equality Law" also would replace Uruguay's 1912 divorce law, which gave only women, and not their husbands, the right to renounce marriage vows without cause. In the early 20th Century, Uruguay's lawmakers saw this as an equalizer, since men at the time held all the economic and social power in a marriage, historian Gerardo Caetano said. "A hundred years later, with all the changes that have occurred in Uruguayan society, this argument has fallen of its own accord," Caetano said Tuesday. "It's absolutely logical now that divorces can happen if either party wants it. And I really think it won't have much of an impact."

The projected law's co-sponsor, Broad Front deputy Anibal Pereyra, said Uruguay's civil code needs to be updated so that all the rights and responsibilities apply to anyone who wants to marry, straight or gay.

Uruguay became the first Latin American country to legalize abortion this year, and its Congress is debating a plan to put the government in charge of marijuana sales as a way to attack illegal marijuana traffickers. The new proposal would make Uruguay the second nation in Latin America and the 12th in the world to legalize gay marriage, after The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, Argentina and Denmark.

The bill also would clarify rules for adoption and in-vitro fertilization, and eliminate the words "marido y mujer" (husband and woman) in marriage contracts, refering instead to the gender neutral "contrayentes" (contracting parties).

The Roman Catholic Church is opposed to the proposal, but the church has little political influence in secular Uruguay.

Judging from the congressional debate so far, giving gays and lesbians all the same rights and responsibilities of married straight couples seems to have been the easy part for most lawmakers. The naming change seemed to cause the most controversy as the measure came through legislative committees. In the end, the legislators proposed to let all couples choose which surname comes first for their children. And if they can't decide, the proposed law says a "sorteo," such as the flip of a coin, in the civil registry office should decide the issue.

The law also sets out naming rules for adoptees and people born outside marriage. A child registered by a single parent would take that parent's name as a first surname. And one whose parents are unknown altogether would be given "two commonly used names" selected by the civil registry office.

In the United States and many other countries, couples are free to decide what surnames to give their children. Even in many Latin American nations, some people already shun convention and use a mother's name if family circumstances make use of the paternal name inconvenient or impossible.

Uruguay's neighbor Argentina has been more rigid: When it became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage in 2010, its lawmakers said last names would go in alphabetical order for the children of same-sex couples, and they left the naming traditions of heterosexuals unchanged.

While Uruguayans seem broadly in favor of legalizing gay marriage, the naming issue has led to some confusion. "I really can't understand the point of letting heterosexual couples choose the order of their surnames. In reality, I think it's for political correctness, and the price is to lose information: Today when someone is presented, we know clearly who the father is and who the mother is. Not so in the future," said office worker Daniel Alvarez.

Gloodtdofsky acknowledged that non-gays may not have realized yet why these changes are necessary, "but the reality is that gays have been living as couples for years, generating rights. These rights must be recognized and attention must be paid to this new version of marriage."

Uruguay has had a civil unions law that covers gay couples, and Bishop Jaime Fuentes of the Roman Catholic Church's Episcopal Conference of Uruguay said "It seems logical that two people of the same sex who care for each other and want to share their lives can have some kind of civil recognition, but it can't be the same as what governs marriage."

But Federico Grana of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that presented a first draft of the bill, said "society is much broader than just heterosexuals, so the law should reflect this, with everyone included, and no discrimination."

Associated Press Writer Michael Warren in Buenos Aires contributed to this report.
Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:43 pm 
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Uruguay delays same-sex marriage vote until April
by Scott Roberts
27 December 2012

Gay rights campaigners have criticised the decision of Uruguay’s Senate to delay voting on the country’s proposed equal marriage bill.

A vote will now take place in April amid calls by some parliamentarians for greater scrutiny of the legislation. The Marriage Equality Law, approved on 11 December by the lower house, was backed by the governing coalition. If passed, the law would make Uruguay the second Latin American nation after Argentina to allow gay couples marriage rights.

Gay rights groups criticised the delay and dozens of people demonstrated outside the Congress building in the capital Montevideo on Wednesday. In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow openly gay members of the armed forces.

Uruguay’s neighbour Argentina legalised equal marriage in 2010. Meanwhile, earlier this month, during a parliamentary debate about equal marriage in Colombia, a senator said the measure would lead to necrophilia, bestiality and paedophilia.

Source: PinkNews.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Uruguay's Senate approves legalizing gay marriage
2 April 2013
By PABLO FERNANDEZ

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Uruguay's Senate on Tuesday voted to legalize gay marriage by approving a single law governing matrimony for heterosexuals and homosexuals.

Senators voted 23-8 in favor of the bill, which was passed by the lower house in December. It must now return to the lower chamber of Congress with changes. If approved, the law would make Uruguay the second nation in Latin America and the 12th in the world to legalize gay marriage. Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in 2010.

"It goes beyond homosexuality, it's about a law where everyone shares the same rights and obligations," said Federico Grana, a lawmaker in the ruling Frente Amplio coalition and a member of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that presented the bill's first draft.

The bill lets couples, gay or straight, decide whose surname goes first when they name their children. It also clarifies rules for adoption and in-vitro fertilization, and eliminates the words "husband and woman" in marriage contracts, referring instead to the gender-neutral "contracting parties."

"This is an issue of liberty, of people's choice and justice," said Sen. Rafael Michelini. "Liberty because the state should not meddle in who you should marry; of justice because if you marry abroad with someone of the same sex and later return to Uruguay, your marriage should be recognized."

The Roman Catholic Church opposes the proposal, but the church has little political influence in secular Uruguay, which became the first Latin American country to legalize abortion last year. President Jose Mujica has been pushing for liberal-leaning proposals in his mandate and says he plans to sign the marriage bill into law.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:02 am 
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Uruguay lawmakers vote to legalize gay marriage
10 April 2013
By PABLO FERNANDEZ

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People celebrate outside the Parliament after lawmakers passed the "marriage equality project" in Montevideo, Uruguay,Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Their vote makes Uruguay the third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. In all, 11 other nations around the world have already taken this step. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- Uruguayan lawmakers voted to legalize gay marriage, making the South American country the third in the Americas to do so.

Supporters of the law, who had filled the public seats in the legislative building, erupted in celebration Wednesday when the results were announced. The bill received the backing of 71 of the 92 members of the Chamber of Deputies present.

"We are living a historic moment," said Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that drafted the proposal. "In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days after the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July."

The "marriage equality project," as it is called, was already approved by ample majorities in both legislative houses, but senators made some changes that required a final vote by the deputies. Among them: Gay and lesbian foreigners will now be allowed to come to Uruguay to marry, just as heterosexual couples can, said Michelle Suarez of the Black Sheep Collective. President Jose Mujica, whose governing Broad Front majority backed the law, is expected to put it into effect within 10 days.

Nationalist Sen. Gerardo Amarilla opposed the law, saying it "debases the institution of marriage" and affects the family, especially in its "role in procreation."

The vote makes Uruguay the third country in the Americas after Canada and Argentina to eliminate laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals. In all, 12 nations around the world now have taken this step. While some countries have carved out new territory for gay and lesbian couples without affecting heterosexual marrieds, Uruguay is creating a single set of rules for all people, gay or straight. Instead of the words "husband and wife" in marriage contracts, it refers to the gender-neutral "contracting parties." All couples will get to decide which parent's surname comes first when they have children. All couples can adopt, or undergo in-vitro fertilization procedures.

The legislation also updates divorce laws in Uruguay, which in 1912 gave women only the right to unilaterally renounce their wedding vows as a sort of equalizer to male power. Now either spouse will be able to unilaterally request a divorce and get one. The law also raises the age when people can legally marry from 12 years old for girls and 14 for boys to 16 for both genders.

Outside congress, gay couples holding hands, transvestites and transgender couples jumped in celebration when the result was announced. People in costumes carrying Uruguayan and rainbow flags danced to electronic music. "I have all the rights and obligations of everyone else. I pay my taxes and fulfill my responsibilities, why would I be discriminated against?" said Roberto Acosta, a 62-year-old retired gay man.

Mujica, who spent more than a decade in prison for his actions as a leftist guerrilla in the 1970s and still lives on a ramshackle flower farm in a poor neighborhood on the edge of Uruguay's capital, has pushed for a series of liberal laws recently. Congress agreed to decriminalize abortion, but Mujica had to suspend an effort to put the government in charge of the marijuana business, saying society has to reach consensus on that idea first.

Uruguay's Roman Catholic Church asked lawmakers to vote their conscience and challenged the label of "marriage equality" as a false pretext, saying it's "not justice but an inconsistent assimilation that will only further weaken marriage."

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 10, 2013 4:44 am 
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Gay couples rush to be first to wed in Uruguay
5 August 2013
By PABLO FERNANDEZ

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Rodrigo Borda, left, and his partner Sergio Miranda watch a Civil Registry worker take down their information to apply to get married in Montevideo, Uruguay, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. Today Uruguay's new gay marriage law goes into effect. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- A gay couple showed up before dawn to be the first to register under Uruguay's new "marriage equality law," but another pair was married first Monday after getting special permission for a rushed wedding at a hospital where one of the men is dying of cancer.

"It was very emotional," said Luisa Salaberry, the civil registry worker who officiated at the hospital wedding. She said that the ceremony was intimate and that the government waived the usual 10 days of bureaucracy because the patient's cancer was so advanced. "They had been waiting for the law to take effect so that they could get married," said Salaberry, who did not identify the couple. Civil Registry Director Adolfo Orellano confirmed that the hospital ceremony was Uruguay's first same-sex wedding.

Earlier Monday, TV producer Sergio Miranda and artist Rodrigo Borda, partners for 14 years, were the first to register. "This is an historic day for us and for the country," Borda said. "No longer will there be first- and second-class citizens. This will be seen in many countries where this option still isn't possible, and hopefully help people in those places live more freely."

Uruguay is the third country in the Americas, after Canada and Argentina, to legalize gay marriage. President Jose Mujica's government also decriminalized abortion and expects senate approval soon for a government-managed marijuana industry.

"This will help so that many people can say, `I went with my boyfriend to walk in the park,' and not have to invent that they have a girlfriend or something like that," Miranda said. "There are people who constantly live a double-life," Borda added. "That's why we've made this so visible, to show that it can be done. We're in a country that has a very open mind right now - you can see it in the people and in the street." Borda said U.S. Ambassador to Uruguay Julissa Reynoso is a friend who has been invited to the couple's wedding.

The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires on Monday announced an "LGBT Go" campaign, inviting people to apply for up to 60,000 pesos (about $11,000) in grants for projects that protect and strengthen gay rights in Argentina.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:58 pm 
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In first, gay couple weds in Uruguay
5 August 2013

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Homosexuals in costume outside the Legislative Palace in Montevideo on April 10, 2013.

AFP - Uruguay saw its first gay marriage Monday but the big day was tinged with sadness because one of the men was on his death bed.

The ceremony in the second country of Latin America to recognize same sex marriage was held at a hospital in the capital Montevideo. It came hours after another gay couple became the first to register to wed, some time soon. Monday was the first day they could do so under a gay marriage law that passed back in April.

The men who actually married sidestepped red tape by presenting a certificate stating the sick man is in imminent risk of death, said Adolf Orellano, director of the Civil Registry. "It was very emotional," Luisa Salaberry, the government official who oversaw the wedding, told the web site of the newspaper El Observador. Normally, a couple has to wait ten days to wed after registering to do so. But because of the illness, these men were allowed to carry out the fast-track nuptials. They acted under legislation passed in April in this small traditionally Roman Catholic country.

Earlier in the day Rodrigo Borda and Sergio Miranda, aged 39 and 45, flashed big smiles as they addressed a gaggle of reporters upon leaving the civil registry in Montevideo where they signed up to wed. "We are celebrating it and sharing it because this law establishes that we all have rights. There are no first and second class citizens," said Miranda. The men said they will pick a date for their actual wedding later this month.

Argentina legalized gay marriage in 2010, becoming the first Latin American country to do so. After Uruguay did so with broad support from all its political parties, Brazil gave the green light to same sex marriages in May. They have also been legal in Mexico City since 2009, although not in the rest of the country.

Source: France24.

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