Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Marriage equality bill passes Uruguay’s House of Representatives

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Big news out of Uruguay, where a marriage equality bill passed the lower house of Congress last night by an incredible 81-6 vote margin, the Washington Blade reported, with 12 of the chamber’s 99 members not present.  The bill moves to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily after the upper chamber’s new session begins in March.  President José Mujica supports the bill, and plans to sign it into law.

The Uruguayan House of Representatives debated the bill for more than six hours, but the actual equal marriage rights portion of the legislation passed quite early.  A more contentious aspect of the bill, the AP reported, was a proposal to allow all couples in Uruguay (same-sex or opposite-sex) to decide which parent’s last name is used first when naming their children.

In Latin America, children are traditionally given two last names, with the father’s coming first.  When Argentina passed marriage equality in 2010, for example, the law mandated that children of same-sex couples would take their parents’ last names in alphabetical oder, while leaving intact the requirement for opposite-sex couples that the father’s last name go first.

As the AP reported, even Deputy Anibal Gloodtdofsky of the conservative Colorado Party voted in favor of the measure, telling the AP, “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.”

Álvaro Queiruga of the Uruguayan LGBT group Colective Ovejas Negras (Black Sheep Collective) told the Washington Blade that his country’s vote keeps Uruguay on the “vanguard” of equal rights in Latin America.  Uruguay already allows same-sex couples to obtain civil unions and adopt, and has non-discrimination legislation in place with protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

Meanwhile, in the United States, New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, the state’s first openly gay lawmaker, introduced legislation that would put marriage equality up for a popular vote as it was in Maine, Maryland and Washington this year.  Democratic leaders in the state, who successfully passed a marriage equality bill early this year only to have it vetoed by Gov. Chris Christie, oppose a ballot vote on the issue.  Christie supports it.  From the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

Gusciora (D-Mercer) said he also has opposed putting marriage equality up to referendum. But the assemblyman — New Jersey’s first openly gay legislator — said his constituents asked him to change his mind in light of last month’s election results.

“I am the last person who believes civil rights should be on the ballot, but civil rights delayed is civil rights denied,” Gusciora said. “The timing is right. There is broader acceptance.” Fellow Democratic lawmakers and the state’s leading gay rights advocate immediately panned Gusciora’s bill without reading it, predicting it would be a costly endeavor likely to fail.

In other news, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, told the Chicago Tribune that he hopes legislators in the state will send him a marriage equality bill when they reconvene in January.  Rep. Greg Harris, the bill’s chief sponsor, however, said that the bill may be crowded out by other priorities in the lame-duck session.


  • 1. Eric Koszyk  |  December 12, 2012 at 9:23 am

    I doubt Governor Christie really wants this on the ballot, since polls indicate that the majority of New Jerseyans support marriage equality (by a wider range than in WA) and that having it on the ballot could drive up support amongst groups supporting the Democratic candidate.

  • 2. Stefan  |  December 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

    What he should do (and likely will do IMO) is work behind the scenes to ensure there will be enough votes to override the veto.

  • 3. Eric Koszyk  |  December 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Why would he want his own veto to be overturned in an election year?

  • 4. Sammy  |  December 12, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Because he can still have the claim of opposing same-sex marriage to get the support of the hard right wing, but by having the bill pass will soften any opposition against him and remove the wedge issue of same sex marriage that may cause people to vote against him that would otherwise vote for him. (Aside from this issue he has been pretty good on gay rights and pretty moderate as a governor)

  • 5. Eric  |  December 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    If he doesn't support the fundamental right to marry, he doesn't support gay rights.

  • 6. Sammy  |  December 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    The thing is that even compared to Governors that support equal marriage he has done better on gay rights in most every other aspect. He was for vigorous enforcement of Civil Union law and making it enforced the same as marriage, he helped push the most sweeping anti-bullying legislation in the country and does advocate for equality, in all areas but one, which is really just perplexing… maybe his advisors are saying not to because of the base support? and maybe he actually does support it? but regardless your point is taken, he is not a true supporter. But he is better for gay rights than most any republican and even more so than a good proportion of Democrats.

  • 7. Amir  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    Civil unions are not gay rights nor are they gay marriage. I know we've had an influx of conservatives posing as gays and liberals posting on here (as evident by the fact that very passionate gay rights supporters get thumbs down, yet someone like you who has the nerve to call a man who's made a career of speaking against marriage equality "pretty good for gay rights" gets thumbs up) proves that we have outsiders frequenting this page)…you should know, true LGBT people will never pat anyone on the back as a supporter of us when they oppose our fundmental CIVIL right to marry. Civil unions are not and will never be marriage. Know that. We'll remind you when you forget it.

  • 8. _BK_  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:24 am

    I'm sorry Amir, I guess I'm not really a "TRUE" gay man myself. I'm just an "outsider" trying to wreak havoc.

  • 9. fiona64  |  December 14, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I've never been a fan of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. People are not a homogenous block. I know a gay man who is very much against marriage equality (I know, it's anecdotal) … but there are some self-loathing gay men married to women (I'm looking at certain self-appointed LDS ex-gay poster children whom I know lurk here) who are also against marriage equality.

  • 10. Eric  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    He can enforce segregation as much as he likes, he still opposes the freedom to marry.

  • 11. Benjamin  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    That's like giving credit to a politician being "good for black rights" who doesn't support interracial marriage, but does support black folks voting. I actually find it rather insulting that you can approach a gay oriented audience with this, and tell us who is good for us, when we know they are against the most important aspect of our cause. Marriage equality means a great deal to us, and no amount of sugar coating and spinning will make us overlook someone who is against that.

  • 12. 2 Dads  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    He vetoed a bill that would grant equality to thousands of loving gay couples in his state. And make the children of LGBT in the state of New Jersey feel accepted and just. Not sure if you work for him, but please stop the campaigning, it's a little transparent.

  • 13. bythesea  |  December 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    Calm down folks. It is true that Christie has been fairly good on gay rights in general, but is a hypocritical, self-serving POS on marriage like Scharzenegger was. Like Arnold, it's worse knowing that he (likely) isn't personally opposed, but is blocking for his own political ambitions. That doesn't mean everyone that is attempting to be objective is a paid troll . Besides Christie would still be a total asshole generally, even if he weren't obstructing ME.

  • 14. Scott Johansen  |  December 13, 2012 at 12:14 am

    I don't really see that as being objective though. I say this with due respect, I think you and the poster above should perhaps step back and do some questioning of your own as to why LGBT don't feel comfortable labeling a politician who does not believe in their civil right to a civil marriage as someone who has been "good for gay people"….Objective to me is seeing the unequal playing field toward gay couples, and seeing just how vastly it effects their lives, and why they have reservations with being embracing of an elected official who is against that. If we start handing out trophies to everyone who smiles in our face and passes an anti bullying legislation, all to hold over our head and say "…nope, sorry, not giving you gay marriage, I already gave you that other bill"….then we've completely lost sight of our integrity and convictions as a movement. Sounds like some of us are not ready to do so.

  • 15. Concord  |  December 13, 2012 at 4:56 am

    LOL @ the false and flawed notion of Governor Chris Christie having done good for gay rights. The apologist crowd always make me giggle.

  • 16. Seth from Maryland  |  December 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

    WoW, 81 to 6 , thats great news

  • 17. Benjamin  |  December 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Amazing to see so many Westernized countries moving so much more quickly than the United States on equality of LGBT. As far as I'm concerned, until LGBT have full equality in this nation..this is not a free nation, and I find it insulting that we're deemed one when you can actually be penalized in the law of the land for being in a same sex relationship (be it in a hospital, in taxes, in lack of benefits, or having politicians bash your relationship in their campaigns)……We have yet to pass that 'freedom' finish line in this nation.

  • 18. Equality On Trial »&hellip  |  April 2, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    […] Uruguayan House of Representatives passed the legislation last December by a decisive 81-6 vote margin, and President José Mujica has said […]

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!