BY Julie Bolcer
September 10 2009 1:25 PM ET
Lawmakers in Uruguay voted to extend adoption rights to gay couples on Wednesday, making the country the first in Latin America to approve adoption by same-sex couples.
The measure, which also would give adoption rights to unmarried couples, now heads to President Tabaré Vázquez for his signature, according to Reuters.
Currently, gay people can adopt under Uruguayan law, but only as individuals and not as couples. While gay marriage remains illegal, civil unions for same-sex couples are legal in the country.
Adoption rights for gay couples in Uruguay arrive on the heels of a decision earlier this year to allow gay people to serve in the military.
Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, which is highly influential in Latin American politics, opposed the new law.