Uruguay's Senate [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday voted 23-8 [press release, in Spanish] in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder]. The bill creates one law covering marriage [AP report] for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. It allows couples decide whose surname goes first when naming children; clarifies rules for adoption and in-vitro fertilization; and eliminates "husband and woman" in marriage contracts by replacing those terms with "contracting parties." The bill must return to the lower chamber of Uruguay's Congress, the Chamber of Deputies [official website, in Spanish], for approval of revisions made by the Senate. President Jose Mujica [official website, in Spanish] has indicated his intention to sign the bill into law.
In December, Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies initially approved [JURIST report] the bill by a wide margin after eight hours of debate with 81 votes in favor out of 87 lawmakers present. If it is signed into law, the bill 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.