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Ecuador's highest court approves same-sex marriage

AFP  |  Quito 

Ecuador's highest court on Wednesday approved in a landmark ruling in the traditionally Catholic and conservative South American country.

The said had been approved in a five-to-four vote of its nine judges in a closed hearing.

Ecuador, where the church is very influential, thus joins Argentina, and in recognizing

"It means that is more egalitarian. It is more just than yesterday, that it recognizes that human rights must be for all people without discrimination," said of the Patka Foundation, which provides legal advice for around 10 same-sex couples seeking to marry in the country.

The four dissenting judges argued that in order to recognize same-sex marriage, constitutional reform would have to be debated in the

Gustavo Medina, a former president, told AFP that Ecuadoran authorities were obliged to abide by decisions of the Constitutional Court, which were "binding and mandatory." has recognized de-facto civil unions for same-sex couples since 2015.

The approved same-sex marriage as it ruled on lawsuits by two pairs of men who wanted to wed.

The men in one of those couples are named and

"I want to say hello to Javier, who is in Honey, I love you," Soria told reporters in the capital

He urged other gays to stop hiding and "enjoy the happiness that comes from being equal, like anyone else." Ecuador's current constitution, ratified in 2008, defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman. It also bars same-sex couples from adopting children.

The judges that approved same-sex marriage said they based their decision on the idea that all people are equal. They also said they sought to counter any kind of discrimination.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 13 2019. 09:05 IST