Uruguay, the first Latin American country to offer civil unions for same-sex couples, legalized gay marriage on April 10. It is the second country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage—after Argentina in 2010—and the 12th in the world.
In addition to allowing gay and lesbian unions, the Marriage Equality Act governs heterosexual unions. It gives couples discretion over their children's last names, clarifies rules for adoption and assisted reproduction, and tweaks the language in the country's marriage contracts. Previously referred to as "husband and woman," the spouses will now be called "contracting parties."
"This is an issue of liberty, of people's choice and justice," Sen. Rafael Michelini told the Associated Press after the Senate voted to approve the bill April 2. "Liberty because the state should not meddle in who you should marry; of justice because if you marry abroad with someone of the same sex and later return to Uruguay, your marriage should be recognized."
That same day, the Senate in Colombia took up a gay marriage bill. But with 68 percent of the heavily Catholic population opposed, the measure is unlikely to pass.