Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Ecuador to celebrate after the South American country’s highest court approved same-sex marriage.
It is a landmark ruling in a country that is traditionally Catholic and conservative.
Ecuador now joins Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Colombia in recognizing same-sex marriage. The Latin American nation is also the 27th country to allow same-sex marriage.
Five justices on the nine-member Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of two gay couples who sued after their request to be married was denied by the country’s civil registry.
The four dissenting judges argued that in order to recognize same-sex marriage, constitutional reform would have to be debated in the National Assembly.
Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Ecuador for a decade, but civil partners enjoy fewer rights than married couples when it comes to inheritance and estate laws, reports NBC News.
The ruling is “a joy for our entire community and Ecuador,” said Soria, who is also president of the Ecuadorian Equality Foundation, an LGBT rights group.
Lawyer Christian Paula of the Patka Foundation, which provides legal advice for around 10 same-sex couples seeking to marry in the country, said triumphantly: “It means that Ecuador is more egalitarian. It recognizes that human rights must be for all people without discrimination.”
“It recognizes that human rights must be for all people without discrimination,” Paula added.
Ecuador’s LGBT rights victory follows a week that saw Botswana decriminalize gay sex and saw Bhutan take the first steps to do the same.