Spanish socialist Pedro Zerolo told
Uruguay lawmakers and community leaders this was the country's moment
to approve gay marriage, the Spanish
news agency EFE reported.
Zerolo, a Madrid councilman, met with
lawmakers and members of Uruguay's gay community.
Uruguay's moment to approve a gay
marriage law and make history on the continent is at hand, Zerolo
said on Friday.
In comments to the news agency, he
added that he was proud that Spain, which legalized such unions in
2005, served as a model for an increasing number of countries.
“Spain showed that when there is
political courage, promises come true. Passage inspired the United
States and produced changes in the region. Next up is Uruguay, this
is their moment, it is only a matter of time before the project is
approved,” he said.
Representative Sebastian Sabini of the
Frente Amplio, the nation's ruling party, formally introduced his
bill earlier this month. Backers believe the measure will be debated
in the House of Representatives this year and the legislation will
reach the Senate in early 2012.
In 2007, Uruguay became the first Latin
American nation to recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil
unions. Two years later, former President Tabare Vazquez signed a
law that sets the legal guidelines for people who want to change
“In Uruguay there are already laws
that help homosexuals, but marriage allows access to social benefits
provided by the state,” Sabini said.
Last year, Argentina became the first
nation in the region to legalize gay marriage. Gay couples in Mexico
can marry in the municipality of Mexico City and their marriages are
recognized throughout the nation.