By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com March 04 2010 10:55 AM ET

Same-sex couples in Mexico City are now eligible to apply for marriage licenses. The marriage equality law passed by the local assembly in December took effect Thursday.

According to the BBC, several same-sex couples are expected to register Thursday to get married as early as next week.

Mexico City is one of the first jurisdictions in Latin America to fully recognize gay marriages. Uruguay has legalized civil unions nationwide and allowed same-sex couples to adopt children, and two same-sex marriages have taken place to date in Argentina.

Despite the new law in Mexico City, most of the country remains conservative, and passage of a federal law for marriage equality remains unlikely.

“Both the Catholic Church and conservative groups oppose the legislation, and the centre-right government even tried to get a ruling by the Supreme Court to block Mexico City from issuing gay marriage licenses; they have so far been unsuccessful,” reports the BBC.