Ecuador has legalised same-sex marriage
In a breakthrough ruling, yesterday (Wednesday, June 12) Ecuador's highest court has legalised same-sex marriage, ruling in favour of two gay couples who petitioned for the right to be wed.
Nine judges in the constitutional court in Quit ovoted five-to-four in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in the cases of the two men - opening the door for even more of the country's 16 million population to wed the person they love.
Ecuador is a country where the Roman Catholic church is incredibly influential, but this landmark ruling means the nation now joins fellow South American countries Argentina, Brazil and Colombia in recognising same-sex marriage.
Per France24, lawyer Christian Paula of the Patka Foundation - who helped provide legal advice for same-sex couples wishing to marry in the country - said of the ruling: "It means that Ecuador is more egalitarian. It is more just than yesterday, that it recognizes that human rights must be for all people without discrimination."
One couple who won the right to wed is Efrain Soria and Javier Benalcazar. Following the trial, Soria announced to reporters: "I want to say hello to Javier, who is in [the city of] Guayaquil. Honey, I love you", AFP reports.
Ecuador first introduced anti-discriminatory laws against LGBTQ+ individuals in 1998, and in 2008 allowed for same-sex couples to enter civil unions, going on to recognise de-facto civil unions for same-sex couples in 2015.
The nation also banned any form of conversion therapy back in 2014.
However, by law, it is still illegal for same-sex couples to adopt children.
In response to the ruling, the four dissenting judges argued that in order to recognise same-sex marriage, constitutional reform would have to be debated in the National Assembly. However, former Supreme Court president Gustavo Medina informed AFP that the decisions of the Constitutional Court were "binding and mandatory", and Ecuadoran authorities were obliged to abide by them.