A court in Ecuador has ruled that the nation's ban on same-sex marriage is illegal.
Two judges in the Family, Women, Children and Adolescents Court made that finding last week, Gay Star News reports. In two cases brought by same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses, the judges ruled they must be allowed to wed immediately. The judges cited a January ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that the 20 countries under its jurisdiction must offer equal marriage rights to same-sex couples.
Not all the nations have gone along with the Inter-American Court's ruling, however. Ecuador's Civil Registry had denied licenses to the two female couples, leading to the cases that came before the Ecuadorian court in the city of Cuenca. Family, Women, Children and Adolescents Court Judges Iliana Vallejo and Ruth Alvarez both ruled that rejection of the women's marriage license applications was a violation of their human rights.
The Civil Registry is appealing the rulings to the Provincial Court in Azuay, the province in which Cuenca is located. Still, LGBT rights activists are celebrating.
"It is expected that this advance in human rights in Ecuador will [be] strengthened in the appeal and that opens the possibility for same-sex couples [to be] really free and equal to realize their dreams," a spokesperson for the Feminist Legal Collective, which assisted in the cases, told Gay Star News.
On Facebook, local organization Red LGBTI Azuay wrote, "Bravo for the defense of equality and diversity! Bravo for the fight against discrimination! Bravo for love! Without a doubt this is a great step forward in the recognition of diverse families."