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Ecuador records first official same-sex marriages as court ruling goes into effect

According to a gay rights activist group, at least two dozen same-sex couples were legally married Tuesday in civil ceremonies around Ecuador. Although the Constitutional Court legalized same-sex marriage June 12, the ruling did not take effect until it was registered Monday night in the government registry of laws and court decision.

A gay marriage supporter celebrates outside the Constitutional Court on June 12.

“I am certain that there are many others, but I am personally aware of 26 marriages that took place today at Civil Registry offices under the new rules,” said Christian Paula, attorney for the GLBTI advocacy group Pakta. “We are thrilled that this day has finally arrived and that our country has joined Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay in recognizing the right of marriage for everyone.”

In its June 12 ruling, the court voted 5 to 4 to adopt the language of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, legally recognizing marriage between same sex couples. In the month following the decision, thousands have marched throughout Ecuador supporting and protesting the decision.

At least two campaigns are underway to reverse the decision via public referendum but GLBTI advocates believe the court will not allow a challenge. “The constitution of Ecuador contains language prohibiting the majority from taking away the rights of minorities and we have confidence that a popular vote on the issue will not be allowed,” says Paula.

The new marriage rules also applies to foreigners who are legal residents of Ecuador, according to a spokeswoman for the civil registry office in Guayaquil