Ecuador's constitutional court approves same-sex marriage

Ecuador's constitutional court approves same-sex marriage

Ecuador's highest court on Wednesday voted to legalize same-sex marriage, issuing a landmark ruling for the traditionally conservative nation.

In a 5-4 decision, judges on the Quito constitutional court ruled to overhaul the nation's laws as they related to marriage, according to CNN. The judges in favor of approving same-sex marriage reportedly argued that prior legislation was discriminatory and unconstitutional, and said that LGBT couples deserved equal rights. 

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The judges who dissented argued that the court should not rule on alterations to the Ecuadorian constitution, saying that changes should be left up to the government. 

CNN noted that Ecuador's National Assembly would still be required to change the laws that define marriage in the country. 

The decision comes during LGBT Pride month and makes Ecuador one of only a handful of Latin American nations to legally approve of same-sex marriage. The other countries include Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia and Uruguay, CBS News noted

CNN added that the court's decision was binding and that same-sex couples would be able to marry as soon the local government was notified of the ruling. The court reportedly has 10 days to make the notification, which will then allow the National Assembly to change the law defining marriage in the country as between a man and a woman. 

Ecuador's LGBT rights movement has helped fuel a slate of changes in the country over the last decade. The country in 2008 granted a constitutional protection that barred discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

The country also legally recognized same-sex unions in 2015, giving them some of the same rights as married couples.