Ecuador’s highest court on Wednesday approved same-sex marriage in a landmark ruling in the traditionally Catholic and conservative 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.
Ecuador, where the church is very influential, thus joins Argentina, Brazil and Colombia in recognizing same-sex marriage.
“It means that Ecuador is more egalitarian. It is more just than yesterday, that it recognizes 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 recognize 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 recognized de-facto civil unions for same-sex couples since 2015.
The Constitutional Court 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 Efrain Soria and Javier Benalcazar.
“I want to say hello to Javier, who is in Guayaquil. Honey, I love you,” Soria told reporters in the capital Quito.
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 Constitutional Court 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.
Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge
Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.
“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”
Angry Minnesota farmer bashes ‘insulting’ Trump comments that ‘we’re great patriots’ during his trade war
President Donald Trump has insulted at least one Minnesota farmer by his claim that farmers are "great patriots" who want him to continue his trade fight against China.
"This wound is self-inflicted, by our president," said Gary Wertish, who is the Minnesota Farm Bureau president. "We definitely agreed with it in the beginning. But it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B. Some of the callous comments come, especially from the president, you know, that farmers are 'winning,' we’re 'great patriots,' that’s very insulting. That’s coming from someone who never has faced the challenges of a family farmer. I go into the bank and tell the lender I can’t make the payment because we lost our market? The banker is going to tell me you don’t have to make your payment because you’re a patriot."
MSNBC pundit nails Trump for only attacking Black voices on Fox News
Democratic strategist Joel Payne called out President Donald Trump Sunday for his attacks on Fox News when he was leaving New Jersey.
Before Trump landed in Marine One at Morristown, New Jersey, he tweeted an attack on Juan Williams, the only Black pundit on the Fox News show "The Five."
Trump briefly addressed Williams, before he told members of the press that he found it appalling Fox News hired a friend of Hillary Clinton's, whose name he couldn't even remember.