Things That Matter

Huge News Out Of Ecuador As The Country Becomes The Latest In Latin America To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

In a landmark ruling for the traditionally conservative country, Ecuador’s highest court on Wednesday voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Judges on the court ruled five-to-four to overhaul the country’s laws. The basis of the argument was Ecuador’s current marriage legislation was discriminatory and unconstitutional towards same-sex couples that should be allowed equal rights. The judges who dissented the vote argued that the court should not rule on changes to the Ecuadorian constitution, instead that should be the governments decision.

Ecuador now joins a group of Latin American nations including, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and Uruguay, that have legalized same-sex marriage in some form.  

Credit:@raymondbraun/Twitter

The historic decision comes during the middle of LGBT Pride month and makes Ecuador one of only a handful of Latin American nations to legally approve of same-sex marriage.

Ecuador’s National Assembly, which is the country’s legislative branch, still has to officially change the laws that define the institution of marriage. After this is done, same-sex couples will be able to marry as soon as the constitutional court informs local government offices of their decision. The court will have 10 days to do this.

This landmark ruling was brought to the constitutional court by two same-sex couples who had petitioned for the right to marry.

Hundreds of LGBTQ supporters celebrated the decision outside the courthouse where the ruling was announced. Pamela Troya and Gaby Correa were one of those celebrating as they petitioned for the right to marry after being denied a license to marry back in 2013.

Troya told CNN she was “overwhelmed with emotion,” after the six-year battle to marry her partner. “The judges decided to be on the right side of history,” Troya said.

The ruling in Ecuador follows recent legislative and constitutional gains for the LGBTQ community.

In 2008, Ecuador voted in favor of constitutional protection that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. In 2013, the controversial conversion therapy practice was banned in rehabilitation institutions. In 2015, adjustments to the labor regulations made it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers on sexual orientation and preference.

While same-sex civil unions have been legal in Ecuador for some years, those couples did not receive the same legal rights and benefits that married couples do. Despite these gains, there are still prevalent homophobic views that continue in various parts of the country.

Many are celebrating the ruling as the decision is a sign of changing perspectives and attitudes towards the LGBTQ community.

Credit:@thomassanders/Twitter

Ecuador is a mostly conservative country with a traditionally Catholic population that up until the last decade, never acknowledged same-sex rights. The legalization of same-sex marriage in the country is a move that is being celebrated and supported around the world.

On Twitter, users expressed their happiness for the countless of same-sex couples that will now get the right to marry. “Same sex marriage is finally a reality in Ecuador!!????️‍???????????? I cannot put in words how happy I am to say I lived to see that happen. Thanks for all the love and support. Love is love and love will always win” one person wrote.

“We’re witnessing an important moment in history,” Matthias Wasik,
programs director for All Out, an International LGBT rights group, told SBS News. “As these victories will send out positive shockwaves across the world and inspire more activists to continue their fight for LGBT+ rights.”

READ: Brazil’s Supreme Court Votes To Make Homophobia And Transphobia Crimes Despite The Bolsonaro Administration Being Vehemently Anti-LGBTQ+

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