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UPDATED: Uruguayan Senate approves marriage equality bill

Marriage equality

By Jacob Combs

Update (5:30 p.m. Pacific): The Uruguayan Senate has voted 23-8 to approve the proposed equal marriage bill.  When President Mujica signs the bill into law, Uruguay will become the 12th country to offer marriage equality nationwide.

Original Post (9:00 a.m. Pacific): Uruguay’s Senate will today consider (and possibly vote) on a proposed marriage equality bill that is expected to be approved by the chamber.

The Uruguayan House of Representatives passed the legislation last December by a decisive 81-6 vote margin, and President José Mujica has said he will sign it into law.  Any changes made in the Senate version of the bill will have to be voted on again by the House.

If the bill becomes law, Uruguay will become only the second country in South America–after its neighbor, Argentina–to provide equal marriage rights to all its same-sex couples.  Mexico City and a few states in Brazil allow marriage equality.  An equal marriage bill is also scheduled to be considered by the Columbian Senate on April 10.

When the House considered the bill in December, the most contentious aspect of the bill, as the AP reported reported, involved 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.

Same-sex couples in Uruguay can currently enter into civil unions.

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