Uruguay's congress has approved a law that legalizes gay marriage. Once President José Mujica signs it into law, as is expected, the country will join Argentina as the only other Latin American country to legalize gay marriage.
"'I agree that family is the basis of society but I also believe that love is the basis of family. And love is neither homosexual nor heterosexual,' said opposition lawmaker Fernando Amado of the center-right Colorado Party.
"Uruguay is the 12th country to pass a law of this kind, according to Human Rights Watch. In Latin America, Argentina also has approved gay marriage and it is allowed in Mexico City and some parts of Brazil.
"Roughly half a million people marched through Paris in January to protest the legalization of same-sex marriage, underscoring opposition to the measure in the heart of Western Europe."
Uruguay's El Pais reports that the first gay marriages will take place in July. While the House of Representatives passed the measure by a wide margin, 71 to 92, El Observador reports the debate was intense.
Representative Gerardo Amarilla said the law "undermines marriage and the family" and "disrupts the rights of children, considering them objects."
The BBC has the details of the law:
"It allows same-sex couples to choose the order of the surnames of the children they adopt.
"And it also increases the age of consent for sexual relations to 16, from the current 12 for women and 14 for men.
"In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow gay members of the armed forces."