Ecuador’s high­est court ap­proves same-sex marriage

Global Times US Edition - - WORLD -

Ecuador’s high­est court on Wed­nes­day ap­proved same-sex marriage in a land­mark rul­ing in the tra­di­tion­ally Catholic and con­ser­va­tive South Amer­i­can coun­try.

LGBT and hu­man rights activists erupted in cel­e­bra­tion in Quito and the port city of Guayaquil, wav­ing the rain­bow flags that sym­bol­ize the gay rights move­ment.

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court said same-sex marriage had been ap­proved in a 5-4 vote of its nine judges in a closed door hear­ing.

Ecuador, where the church is very in­flu­en­tial, thus joins Ar­gentina, Brazil and Colombia in rec­og­niz­ing same-sex marriage.

“It means that Ecuador is more egal­i­tar­ian,” said lawyer Chris­tian Paula of the Patka Foundation, which pro­vides le­gal ad­vice for around 10 same-sex cou­ples seek­ing to marry in the coun­try.

The four dis­sent­ing judges ar­gued that in or­der to rec­og­nize same-sex marriage, con­sti­tu­tional re­form would have to be de­bated in the Na­tional Assem­bly. Gus­tavo Me­d­ina, a for­mer Supreme Court pres­i­dent, told AFP that Ecuado­ran au­thor­i­ties were obliged to abide by de­ci­sions of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court, which were “bind­ing and manda­tory.”

Ecuador has rec­og­nized de facto civil unions for same-sex cou­ples since 2015.

The Con­sti­tu­tional Court ap­proved same-sex marriage as it ruled on law­suits by two pairs of men who wanted to wed.

The men in one of those cou­ples are named Efrain So­ria and Javier Be­nal­cazar. “I want to say hello to Javier, who is in Guayaquil. Honey, I love you,” So­ria told re­porters in Quito.

He urged other gays to stop hid­ing and “en­joy the hap­pi­ness that comes from be­ing equal, like anyone else.”

Ecuador’s cur­rent con­sti­tu­tion de­fines marriage as the union be­tween a man and a woman. The char­ter, rat­i­fied in 2008, also bars same-sex cou­ples from adopt­ing chil­dren.

But the judges that ap­proved same-sex marriage said they based their de­ci­sion on the idea that all peo­ple are equal. They also said they sought to counter any kind of dis­crim­i­na­tion. [email protected] glob­al­

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