Uruguay Allows Same-Sex Adoption, First in Latin America
Same-sex couples in Uruguay will be able to adopt children as the bill was approved by the country's senate. This change means that Uruguay has become the first country in Latin America that allows same-sex couples to adopt children.
For a long time, Uruguay has held a reputation as the most progressive Latin American country. The new legislation, backed by the first leftist leader in Uruguayan history President Tabare Vazquez and his ruling coalition, was voted in favor by 17 out of 23 senators. It was approved by the left-wing Frente Amplio and the opposition Colorado Party, while being opposed by the National Party. Also, the Roman Catholic Church condemned the passing of the adoption law.
The archbishop of Montevideo, Nicolas Cotugno, said before the vote that it would be a "serious error to accept the adoption of children by homosexual couples". "It's not about religion, philosophy or sociology. It's something which is mainly about the respect of human nature itself," he said.
Under the new law, the power to make decisions on same-sex adoption shifts from judges to the national Institute of Children and Adolescents.
Uruguay, with a population of 3.5 million people, became the first country in the Latin American region to approve divorce in 1907. In 1932, women were given the right to vote. Last year, gay civil unions were legalized and a ban on homosexuals in the military was ended.
"Uruguay has a long tradition of leading the way in civil rights and has shown a desire to move ahead quickly on such questions," said social sciences professor Adolfo Garce of Montevideo University.