Ecuador has officially legalized same sex marriage. On June 12th, Ecuador’s top court voted 5-4 to grant equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. The courts ruled that the country’s former marriage laws were unconstitutional and unjust. The ruling came after two gay couples filed a lawsuit challenging the country’s marriage laws that prevented them from being able to marry.
For the Catholic-majority nation this decision is especially momentous. Although same-sex civil union has been legal in Ecuador since 2009, these unions did not provide the same legal rights and protections as marriage. Same-sex couples in Ecuador will now have the same full legal rights and protections in marriage as opposite-sex couples have had access to. Marriage equality doesn’t just impact those desiring legal union as a link has been reported between same-sex marriage policies and a decrease in youth suicide attempts according to a study conducted by JAMA pediatrics.
This historic decision makes Ecuador the 6th Latin American nation to legalize same-sex marriage, following Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and Uruguay, and the 30th country worldwide.
Diane Rodriguez, Ecuadorian Federation of LGBTI Organizations president, said of the decision, “After a fight of almost 20 years, gay marriage has been achieved. It gives us a guiding light for many other proposals on human rights.” Rodriguez became the first transgender woman to be elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly in 2017.
The Associated Press reported that Efraín Soria, a plaintiff in the case, will be planning a wedding with his partner Xavier Benalcázar as soon as possible. He went on to say that the ruling is, “…a joy for our entire community and Ecuador.” LGBTQ+ people and allies in Ecuador are celebrating this pivotal decision.
What country might be next in legalizing same-sex marriage? What legislation exists in your area regarding the rights of LGBTQ+ people?