In a landmark moment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Latin America, a same-sex couple in Uruguay became the first to register for marriage today since the country passed legislation that recognizes same-sex unions earlier this year.
The move makes Uruguay the second country in Latin America to extend benefits to same-sex couples, following Argentina's legalization of gay mariage in 2010.
Sergio Miranda and Rodrigo Borda, a couple reportedly in a committed partnership for 14 years, registered to legally marry one another on the morning of Aug. 5.
"We are celebrating it and sharing it because this law establishes that we all have rights," said Miranda to reporters. "There are no first and second class citizens...It is a very important message that Uruguay is sending to the world today.”
Following President Jose Mujica's signing of the "marriage equality project" last May, same-sex couples had to endure a 90-day waiting period prior to pursuing marriage licenses through civil registries. Miranda and Borda can marry as of Aug. 16, and are planning a wedding ceremony for later this month.
Other Latin American countries are also slowly beginning to extend benefits to same-sex couples. In Brazil, while gay marriage isn't necessarily gaining traction within the political arena, lawmakers have engaged in the preliminary legislative steps to allow civil unions in their country without the specification of gender.
In Uruguay, half a dozen couples are expected to apply for marriage at civil registries over the coming days.