Ecuador's highest court, the
Constitutional Court, on Wednesday instructed lawmakers to approve
legislation allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.
The 5-4 ruling comes after a lengthy
legal battle waged by several couples who wish to marry.
Ecuador has recognized gay couples with
civil unions for a decade. But plaintiffs Efrain Soria and Xavier
Benalcazar, who have been in a civil union since 2012, argued that
they have fewer rights than married couples.
The couple told the
AP that they would begin planning a wedding immediately. Soria
called the ruling “a joy for our entire community and Ecuador.”
Gay couples can marry in only a handful
of Latin American nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica,
Colombia, and Uruguay. Such unions are allowed in several Mexican
states and all states must recognize those marriages.