Ecuador’s highest court approves same-sex marriage

Rainbow flags are seen at the Stonewall National Monument, the first LGBTQ national monument, dedicated to the birthplace of modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer civil rights movement. (AFP pic)

QUITO: Ecuador’s highest court on Wednesday approved same-sex marriage in a landmark ruling in the South American country.

The Constitutional Court said same-sex marriage had been approved in a five-to-four vote of its nine judges in a closed hearing.

The conservative country joins a handful of other Latin American countries to recognise gay marriage.

“It means that Ecuador is more egalitarian, it is more just than yesterday, that it recognises that human rights must be for all people without discrimination,” said lawyer Christian Paula 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 recognise same-sex marriage, constitutional reform would have to be debated in the National Assembly.

Gustavo Medina, a former Supreme Court president, told AFP that Ecuadoran authorities were obliged to abide by decisions of the Constitutional Court, which were “binding and mandatory.”

Ecuador has recognised de-facto civil unions for same-sex couples since 2015.