Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday approved a bill [press release, in Spanish] to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder]. The measure passed by a wide margin [Buenos Aires Herald report] after eight hours of debate with 81 votes in favor out of 87 lawmakers present. The bill seeks to create a single law granting equal marriage rights to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation. It now goes before the Senate, where it is expected to pass. The measure is backed by President Jose Mujica's leftist Frente Amplio [party website, in Spanish], which holds a majority in the upper house.
This would make Uruguay only the second Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage, following Argentina [JURIST report]. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City since 2009, and last week the Supreme Court of Mexico struck down [JURIST reports] Oaxaca's same-sex marriage ban, which could pave the way for legalization across the country.