Same-sex marriage in Uruguay

Legal status of same-sex unions

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Same-sex marriage became legal in Uruguay on August 5, 2013.[1] A bill for legalization was passed by the Chamber of Deputies on December 12, 2012 in a vote of 81–6.[2] The Senate approved it with some minor amendments on April 2, 2013, in a 23–8 vote.[3] The amended bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies in a 71–21 vote on April 10 and was signed by the President on May 3, 2013.[4][5][6] As of July 2015, Uruguay is one of eighteen countries to have legalised same-sex marriage.[7]


Recognition of same-sex unions in South America
  Other type of partnership
  Same-sex marriage banned
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Civil union

On January 1, 2008, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to have a national civil union law, titled Ley de Unión Concubinaria.[8]

The bill for legalization, proposed by Senator Margarita Percovich of the Broad Front, was passed in Chamber of Deputies on November 29, 2007 after having been passed in a similar form in the Senate in 2006.[9][10][11][12] The bill was passed by both chambers in the same form on December 19[13][14] and signed into law by president Tabaré Vázquez on December 27.[15][16] It came into effect on January 1, 2008.[17] First union was performed on April 17, 2008.[18][19]

Following the approval of a bill both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are allowed to enter into a civil union (unión concubinaria) after they live together for at least five years, and are entitled to most of the benefits that married couples are afforded, including social security entitlements, inheritance rights and joint ownership of goods and property.[20]

A government-backed bill allowing same-sex couples to adopt children was discussed in the national parliament in the spring of 2008, receiving the support of President Vázquez and fierce opposition from the Catholic Church. The bill was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 27 August 2009 by a 40–13 vote[21][22] and by the Senate on 9 September 2009 with a 17–6 vote. Thus, Uruguay became the first country in South America where same-sex couples could jointly adopt.[23][24][25]

Same-sex marriage

On May 25, 2009 Senator Percovich said if Broad Front won the national elections in October 2009 it would introduce a same-sex marriage bill.[26] In October the Broad Front won an absolute majority in both chambers and José Mujica, the Broad Front presidential candidate, won the presidential election on November 29, 2009. In July 2010 legislators of the ruling party Broad Front announced plans to submit the bill that would allow same-sex marriage.[27][28][29] Michelle Suárez Bértora, first transgender attorney in Uruguay, assisted in drafting the legislation for same-sex marriage as part of her work with the LGBT rights organization “Ovejas Negras” (Black Sheep).[30][31] On July 25, 2010, former president Julio María Sanguinetti of the Colorado Party declared his support for legalization of same-sex marriage. Other former president and incumbent senator Luis Alberto Lacalle of the National Party stated his opposition.[32][33]

In April 2011, Sebastián Sabini, a legislator of the Movement of Popular Participation, one of the parties consisting the Broad Front, presented the bill allowing same-sex couples to marry.[34][35][36] The bill was formally submitted to the Chamber of Deputies on September 6, 2011.[37]

In June 2012, a judicial court in Uruguay recognized a foreign same-sex marriage.[38][39][40] The ruling also stated that local laws already permit same-sex marriage, even if they don't say so, and that Uruguayans who marry overseas can go to a judge and have their marriage recognized under Uruguayan law.[41] However, that ruling was appealed.[42]

In June 2012, the Minister of Education and Culture said that the project to legalize same-sex marriage in the country was going to be debated in parliament before the end of 2012.[43] On July 4, 2012, the Chamber of Deputies's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee started the debate on the issue.[44] The committee initially approved the bill on November 28, 2012.[45][46][47] On December 5, the committee amended the bill and gave its final approval.[48][49]

On December 12, the Chamber of Deputies approved the bill by 81 out of the 87 MPs present and sent it to the Senate.[50][51] On March 19, 2013, the Senate's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee passed the bill with some minor amendments.[52][53][54] The Senate approved the amended bill on April 2, 2013, in a 23-8 vote.[55][56] On April 10, 2013, the Chamber of Deputies approved the amended bill in a 71-21 vote. On May 3, it was signed by President and took effect on August 5, 2013.[5][57]

Public opinion

Factum poll, conducted in November 2011, found that 52% supported same-sex marriage, 32% were opposed, 10% were neutral and 6% had no opinion.[58]

According to Cifra poll, conducted between 29 November and 6 December 2012, 53% of Uruguayans supported same-sex marriage, 32% were opposed and 15% had no opinion.[59]

Another Cifra poll, conducted between 22 February and 4 March 2013, found that 54% supported same-sex marriage, 32% were opposed, 9% were undecided and 4% had no opinion.[60][61]

According to Pew Research Center survey, conducted between 22 November 2013 and 8 January 2014, 62% of Uruguayans supported same-sex marriage, 31% were opposed.[62][63]

See also


  1. Same-sex marriage bill comes into force in Uruguay
  2. Uruguay votes to legalise gay marriage
  3. Uruguayan lawmakers approve legalizing gay marriage
  4. Same-sex marriage bill awaits president's signature in Uruguay
  6. (Spanish) Desde el 1 de agosto habrá bodas gay en Uruguay
  7. The Freedom to Marry Internationally
  8. (Spanish) Ley Nş 18.246 UNIÓN CONCUBINARIA
  9. Grew, Tony. (September 14, 2006) Legal recognition for gay couples in Uruguay. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  10. (German) Uruguay will Homo-Ehe einführen
  11. Uruguay set to legalize gay civil unions
  12. Uruguay to Legalize Same-Sex Civil Unions. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  13. Uruguay approves gay civil unions. BBC News (December 19, 2007). Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  14. Writer, Staff. (December 19, 2007) Uruguay becomes latest country to legalise civil unions. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  15. Writer, Staff. (December 28, 2007) Uruguay's President grants legal rights for gay couples. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  16. Uruguayan president signs law legalizing civil unions for gay couples. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  17. Uruguay approves gay civil unions. (January 4, 2008). Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  18. Uruguay Sees First Civil Union
  19. (Spanish) Uruguay: la justicia consagra la primera unión civil gay del país
  20. (Spanish) Preguntas frecuentes sobre Unión Concubinaria
  21. Writer, Staff. (August 28, 2009) Bill to legalise gay adoption moves forward in Uruguay. Retrieved on 11 April 2013.
  22. Uruguay nears same-sex adoption law. Retrieved on 11 April 2013.
  23. Uruguay allows same sex adoption
  24. Uruguay allows same-sex adoption. BBC News (September 9, 2009). Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  25. Uruguay will allow gay adoption, a first for Latin America. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  26. (Spanish) Ahora Uruguay va por el matrimonio gay
  27. (Spanish) Frente promoverá ley para habilitar el matrimonio gay
  28. (Spanish) Socialistas quieren debate sobre matrimonio gay
  29. Argentine Neighbors Uruguay, Paraguay To Debate Gay Marriage. (July 20, 2010). Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  30. Formoso, Sofía (9 February 2015). "Michelle Suárez: La primera abogada trans de Uruguay" (in Spanish). Uruguay: Sin Etiquetas. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  31. "Michelle Suárez: "10 años atrás era impensable" (in Spanish). Uruguay: Elecodigital. 11 April 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  32. (Spanish) Matrimonio gay en Uruguay ¿sí o no?
  33. (Spanish) Ex presidentes de Uruguay disienten sobre el matrimonio gay
  34. Uruguay: Parliament considers bill to allow gay marriage. (April 6, 2011). Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
  35. (Spanish) Uruguay: el Frente Amplio impulsa el matrimonio igualitario
  36. (Spanish) Uruguay podría aprobar el matrimonio gay
  37. (Spanish) Asuntos del Parlamento
  38. (Spanish) Por primera vez Justicia uruguaya reconoce matrimonio homosexual
  39. Uruguay Recognizes Marriage Of Gay Couple
  40. (Spanish) Justicia uruguaya reconoció un matrimonio gay
  41. (Spanish) Jueza afirmó que la ley ya habilita el matrimonio homosexual
  42. (Spanish) Tribunal decidirá si valida el matrimonio gay
  43. (Spanish) El MEC prepara proyecto para habilitar casamiento homosexual
  44. (Spanish) Diputados tratan matrimonio igualitario
  45. (Spanish) Uruguay votará en diciembre ley para aprobar matrimonio homosexual
  46. Uruguay to Vote on Same Sex Marriage in December
  47. Gay Marriage Bill Clears First Hurdle In Uruguay
  48. (Spanish) Comisión de Diputados aprobó matrimonio homosexual; el 11 lo trata el plenario
  49. (Spanish) El proyecto de matrimonio gay se vota el martes en Diputados
  50. Uruguay assembly votes to legalize gay marriage
  51. (Spanish) Uruguay aprueba el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo
  52. (Spanish) Habemus. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  53. (Spanish) El Senado tratará matrimonio igualitario el 2 de abril
  54. (Spanish) Uruguay: El Senado tratará matrimonio igualitario el 2 de abril
  55. Uruguay's senate approves same-sex marriage bill
  56. (Spanish) Senado aprobó ley de matrimonio igualitario: 23 a favor, 8 en contra
  57. Uruguay: Equal marriage law comes into effect
  58. (Spanish) Más de la mitad de los uruguayos está a favor de la autorización del matrimonio homosexual
  59. (Spanish) Legalización del matrimonio homosexual
  60. (Spanish) Matrimonio entre homosexuales: 54% está a favor de ley aprobada
  61. (Spanish) El 54% de la población aprueba el matrimonio igualitario en Uruguay
  62. Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
  63. Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology
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