Uruguay Lawmakers Seek To Legalize Gay Marriage

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Members of the gay community protest on Dec. 26, 2012 in Montevideo, against the postponement of the votation in the Senate of a law that would legalize gay marriage. (credit: MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)

Members of the gay community protest on Dec. 26, 2012 in Montevideo, against the postponement of the votation in the Senate of a law that would legalize gay marriage. (credit: MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)

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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (CBSDC/AP) – Uruguayan lawmakers are debating a proposal to legalize gay marriage.

The bill was approved by the lower house of Congress in December, and the Senate is debating it Tuesday. The country’s ruling coalition has enough votes for its passage.

The proposal would make Uruguay the second nation in Latin America and the 12th in the world to legalize gay marriage. Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in 2010.

The bill also lets couples, gay or straight, decide whose surname goes first when they name their children.

President Jose Mujica said earlier this year he planned to sign the bill into law. If it is approved by the Senate, the bill must be sent back to the lower house after lawmakers made changes to it.

Last month, the United States Supreme Court heard separate cases regarding the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriages, and the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The rulings are expected to come this summer.

Uruguay became the first Latin American country to legalize abortion last year.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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