First-same sex couples marry in Ecuador

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Michelle Avilés and Alexandra Chávez became the first same-sex couple to marry in Ecuador. (Photo: Twitter)

wo lesbian women became the first same-sex couple to get married in Ecuador on Thursday 18 July.

Michelle Avilés and Alexandra Chávez married at the civil registry office in the coastal city of Guayaquil.

Ecuador began registering same-sex couples on Thursday after a landmark court ruling last month.

The country has recognized civil unions since 2014.

Last month, tens of thousands of ‘pro-family’ protesters marched against same-sex marriage, abortion and other progressive rights.

Avilés and Chávez told the Associated Press they planned to have a wedding celebration in November.

Avilés acknowledged some people would not approve of their union, but said she and Chávez had a normal life like any other couple.

How did Ecuador legalize same-sex marriage?

In 1998, Ecuador became one of the first countries in the world to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the constitution.

And, Article 68 of the 2008 constitution also says stable same-sex couples shall enjoy the same rights and obligations as married couples, except for adoption.

Civil unions became law in 2014.

On 12 June, Ecuador’s  Constitutional Court ruled to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.

The ruling centered on whether the Inter-American Court Ruling of January 2018, which recognized same-sex marriage, compels Ecuador to legalize same-sex marriage. Judges voted by five to four in favor.

The South American country had started hearing arguments for and against marriage equality in April 2019.

A gay couple of 12 years is at the forefront of the movement trying to put pressure on authorities.

Efraín Soria and Javier Benalcázar have tried to legally marry for years. The Civil Registry rejected their application for a marriage licence last year. So, they took the matter to the Provincial Court of Justice of Pichincha.

‘Today is a historic day, not only for Efrain and Javier, but for Ecuador as a whole,’ LGBTI activist Freddy Veloz Baez said after the ruling.

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