After eight hours of debate, Uruguay's
lower house, La Camara de Diputados, on Tuesday approved legalizing
marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
About 200 gay rights activists
following the debate from the chamber's gallery cheered as the vote
was announced. Eighty-one of the eighty-seven lawmakers present
voted for the measure.
The proposed reform now goes to the
Senate, where it has sufficient support to pass. President Jose
Mujican has said he'll sign the bill into law.
The “Marriage Equality Law” seeks
to modify some 20 articles of the Civil Code, including whose surname
goes first when children are named.
“It's an issue that will generate
confusion in a society that has forever taken the father's name,”
Deputy Anibal Gloodtdofsky told the AP. “But these changes in
society have to be accepted.”
Uruguay currently recognizes gay
couples with civil unions. After a couple has lived in a “stable
relationship” for 5 years, they may petition the government for the
If the marriage law is approved, Uruguay would become only
the second South American country after Argentina to legalize
state Oaxaca to legalize gay marriage.)