In a landmark vote, government officials in Ecuador have ruled in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples.
The vote in question, which occurred this Wednesday, June 12, comes almost a year after the nation’s Family, Women, Children, and Adolescents Court ruled in favor of an Ecuadorian lesbian couple’s right to marry.
Although the Inter-American Court of Human Rights—which presides over 20 Latin American countries, including Ecuador—had also approved marriage equality back in January 2018, the country’s Constitution had not been updated accordingly. Hence, the aforementioned lesbian couple was denied a marriage license when they approached the conservative country’s Civil Registry.
El debate sobre el #MatrimonioIgualitarioEC, ahora en la @CorteConstEcu, inició en 2018, cuando Efraín Soria y Javier Benalcazar fueron al Registro Civil para casarse. Su solicitud fue negada y se encuentra en la Corte de Pichincha pic.twitter.com/YDWqCWWqTF Vía @GYRivadeneira
— El Universo (@eluniversocom) June 4, 2019
However, today’s pro-marriage equality vote was decided by Ecuador’s official Constitutional Court, meaning same-sex couples are guaranteed a constitutional right to tie the knot.
— GLAAD (@glaad) June 12, 2019
The road to equal marriage in Ecuador hasn’t been an easy one: As Gay Star News reports, today’s ruling was pushed back from its original date of June 4, since judges requested more time to make a choice. However, the nation has had civil unions for same-sex couples since 2014.
Some Ecuadorian LGBTQ activists, including partners Pamela Troya and Gabriela Correa (pictured below), have championed marriage equality for years, rallying support among fellow citizens.
— Pamela Troya (@pametroya) June 12, 2019
Still, homophobia and anti-LGBTQ violence remain rampant in Ecuador. As NewNowNext reported last February, gay conversion therapy is a “very lucrative” business in the South American nation, where LGBTQ people are routinely subjected to physical violence, solitary confinement, and “corrective rape” because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Anti-LGBTQ violence in South America isn’t limited to Ecuador, either. Queer activists from other traditionally conservative nations on the continent, including Brazil, which is majority-Catholic, have reported staggeringly high numbers of hate-motivated violence against LGBTQ citizens.