Uruguay Legalizes Gay Marriage

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Uruguay is now the third country in the America's to legalize gay marriage; 71 out of 92 members of the county's chamber of deputies voted in favor of the measure.

It's called "The marriage equality project." One provision of the law will allow gay couples to come to the South American county just to marry.

"We are living a historic moment," said Federico Grana, a leader of the Black Sheep Collective, a gay rights group that drafted the proposal. "In terms of the steps needed, we calculate that the first gay couples should be getting married 90 days after the promulgation of the law, or in the middle of July."

Nationalist Sen. Gerardo Amarilla opposed the law, saying it "debases the institution of marriage" and affects the family, especially in its "role in procreation."

Uruguay created a single set of rules for both gay and straight people. Now in place of the words "husband and wife"  marriage contracts refer to the gender-neutral "contracting parties."

And no longer will the father's surname be assigned to a child. All couples will get to choose which parent's surname comes first.

Uruguay's Roman Catholic Church challenged the label of "marriage equality," saying it's "not justice but an inconsistent assimilation that will only further weaken marriage."

Canada and Argentina are the only other two countries in the America's where gay marriage is legal.

To date 12 nations around the world have officially eliminated laws making marriage, adoption and other family rights exclusive to heterosexuals.

President Jose Mujica is expected to the measure into effect within 10 days.

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