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International Laws

Updated 10 July 2015


On 22 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. The law also allows same-sex couples to adopt.


Constitutional bans against same-sex marriage and adoption.


On 14 May 2013 the council overseeing Brazil’s judiciary ruled that notary publics cannot refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, a decision that effectively legalized marriage for same-sex couples throughout Brazil. The decision took effect on 16 May 2013.


9 July 2015, the process for obtaining a date from the civil registry for a civil union opened. Civil unions begin nationwide in October 2015.


At the present time same-sex marriage is legal in Colombia. As of 19 February 2015, Colombia's constitutional court allows same-sex couples to adopt ONLY in cases where one of the partners has a biological child.


On 22 April 2015, Ecuadorian lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill that would allow for the legal recognition of civil unions. The measure would allow LGBT couples to receive “the same rights and obligations of a marriage” in terms of pensions, purchasing a home together and other benefits. It would also eliminate the requirement that couples must wait two years before entering into a civil union and demonstrate that they had lived together during this period. The proposal would also apply to unmarried straight couples. President Rafael Correa has 30 days to sign or veto the measure.

Falkland Islands

Same-sex relationships have been recognized since 2005; same-sex marriage is not legal; adoption by same-sex couples is legal.

French Guiana

Civil unions, Pacte civil de solidarité, have been legal since 1999.


Same-sex sexual activities for males is illegal; no relationship protection or recognition.


Constitutional ban on civil unions and same-sex marriage since 1992.


Same-sex sexual activity among consenting adults is legal. There are no relationship protections. Bills were introduced in 2011 and 2014 to legalize civil unions, but both bills died. 10 March 2015, the Peruvian Congress' Justice and Human Rights Committee turned down a bill to legalize civil unions between persons of the same sex that was presented by legislator Carlos Bruce. On 15 April 2015, "The Justice and Human Rights Committee of Peru’s Congress permanently archived the same-sex civil union bill previously rejected in March," said committee president Juan Carlos Eguren.


Uruguay became the first country in South America to allow civil unions (for both opposite sex and same-sex couples) in a national platform on 1 January 2008. Child adoption by same-sex couples has been legal since 2009. President José Mujica signed the same-gender civil marriage bill on 3 May 2013 and marriages began on 23 August 2013.


There is no legal recognition of same-sex couples explicitly in the Venezuelan law. In May 2013, during a debate on a Civil Code reform bill, LGBT activists submitted a proposal seeking to legalize same-sex marriage. The Bill passed the first reading and will probably be debated in 2014. The bill becomes law if it passes the second reading.