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Recognition of same-sex unions in Ecuador

De facto unions for same-sex couples were legalized by the approval of the 2008 Constitution of Ecuador,[1][2][3] which includes all the rights of marriage except for joint adoption. The first reported de facto union was recognised in August 2009.[4][5][6][7][8]


Civil unionsEdit

Recognition of same-sex unions in South America
  Other type of partnership
  Constitution limits marriage to opposite-sex couples
  Same-sex sexual activity illegal

Since early in the 20th century, heterosexual civil unions (requiring two years of living together) have enjoyed the same rights as civil marriages. In the late 19th century, the liberal revolution led by Eloy Alfaro established a clear separation between state and church. Since the consolidation of this separation in the first decades of the 20th century, only civil marriage or unions have been recognized by the state.

During the debate over the 2008 Ecuadorian new Constitution, LGBT organizations campaigned for the inclusion of same-sex unions in it.[9][10] Civil unions for same-sex couples were included in Article 68 of the final draft of the Constitution, even after big protests made by the Catholic Church and evangelical groups.[11] Under the text of the new Constitution, the only significant difference between homosexual and heterosexual unions was that adoptions by same-sex couples were not recognized. Adoption rights were the same for heterosexual civil unions as for civil marriages, but did not extend to same-sex unions.[12] Protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation had already been introduced in the 1998 Constitution, Ecuador being among the first three countries in the world to adopt such a constitutional protection.

Ecuador's leftist President, Rafael Correa, openly stated at the time that he wanted the document to allow same-sex unions. "Let's be clear that the profoundly humanistic position of this government is to respect the intrinsic dignity of everyone, of every human being, independently of their creed, race, sexual preference," Correa said. "We will give certain guarantees to stable gay couples but matrimony will continue being reserved for a man, a woman and the family." "Every person has dignity, that's to say, one must respect a person independently of their sexual preference. Be careful not to deny employment to someone because of their sexual preference. That is discrimination, that is unconstitutional."[13][14]

The Constitution passed the referendum by 69.46% of approval. It was officially recorded on 20 October 2008.[15]

Text of Article 68 of the Ecuador ConstitutionEdit

In Spanish: Art. 68.- "La unión estable y monogámica entre dos personas libres de vínculo matrimonial que formen un hogar de hecho, por el lapso y bajo las condiciones y circunstancias que señale la ley, generará los mismos derechos y obligaciones que tienen las familias constituidas mediante matrimonio. La adopción corresponderá sólo a parejas de distinto sexo."

That is: "The stable and monogamous union between two persons, free of matrimonial bond, who form a de facto couple, for the duration and under the conditions and circumstances that the law provides, will generate the same rights and obligations as held by families built through marriage. Adoption will pertain only to couples of different sexes."


On 15 September 2014, the Directorate General of Civil Registry began registering de facto unions nationwide. This procedure was initially only available in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. A couple in a de facto union can now register their union nationwide.[16]

Civil CodeEdit

On 21 April 2015, the National Assembly overwhelmingly voted in favor of a bill, codifying civil unions into statute law. The bill was passed 89 to 1.[17][18] President Rafael Correa signed the bill on 19 June 2015.[19]

Same-sex marriageEdit

Same-sex marriage is constitutionally banned in Ecuador. Article 67 reads "Marriage is the union between man and woman based on the free consent of the parties and their equal rights, obligations and legal capacity. "[20]

Support from political partiesEdit

During a series of interviews made by local newspaper El Universo before the 2013 Ecuadorian general election, two of the eight presidential candidates positioned themselves in favor of same-sex marriage. These were the leftist candidates Alberto Acosta,[21] from the Plurinational Unity of the Lefts, and Norman Wray,[22] from the Ruptura 25 movement. Incumbent President Rafael Correa, who also has a leftist ideology, didn't participate in the interviews.[23] However, in a 2011 interview for Radio France Internationale, Correa said that he "couldn't accept" same-sex marriage or abortion, although when asked if he would oppose legislation legalizing any of them, Correa referred only to abortion when saying that he would certainly oppose it.[24] On 17 February 2013, President Correa won the election by a wide margin.[25] On 23 May 2013, Correa reiterated his opposition to same-sex marriage.[26]

Before the 2017 presidential election, Paco Moncayo, candidate for the Democratic Left, said there should be a national debate on the legalisation of same-sex marriage.[27] The position of Lenín Moreno, who won the 2017 election, on same-sex marriage is unknown, having refused to answer questions on the issue asked by activist Pamela Troya.[28]

Same-sex couple on their way to the Guayaquil Civil Registry, as part of the Matrimonio Civil Igualitario campaign.

Legalization effortsEdit

On 5 August 2013, LGBT rights groups started a nationwide campaign under the name Matrimonio Civil Igualitario (Equal Civil Marriage) that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage in the country.[29] The campaign was launched with a marriage petition made by activist Pamela Troya and her partner in the Civil Registry of Quito.[30][31] The petition was rejected days later, citing the country's Constitution and its Civil Code as the reasons behind the rejection. The couple announced on 8 August that they were filing a lawsuit in order to have a judge order the Civil Registry to marry them.[32][33][34] The lawsuit was filed on 13 August and its resolution continues pending.[35][36]

On 26 August 2013, a new couple went to the Civil Registry asking to be married, this time in Guayaquil.[37] The couple, Santiago Vinces and Fernando Saltos, walked through the city streets with a convoy of activists and supporters, including noted actress Érika Vélez,[38][39] until they arrived to the Civil Registry.[40][41][42] However, three days later, their marriage petition was denied, citing the same reasons given to the first couple.[43][44]

Symbolic marriagesEdit

On 4 March 2016, the province of Azuay approved an ordinance allowing symbolic same-sex marriages.[45] The ordinance was unanimously approved by the Provincial Government. It allows for a same-sex couple to register their marriage with the Azuay Provincial Civil Registry, however, the marriage would only be symbolic.[46][47] The first symbolic same-sex marriage was held in late June 2016 in Cuenca.[48]

Public opinionEdit

According to a Pew Research Center survey, conducted between November 7, 2013 and January 26, 2014, 16% of Ecuadorians supported same-sex marriage, and 74% were opposed.[49][50]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ (in Spanish) Apoyo al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo en América Latina Archived 6 July 2013 at WebCite. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  2. ^ Ecuador Approves New Constitution Including Same-Sex Civil Unions. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ Ecuador's poor bank on referendum. (27 September 2008). Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Uniones gays ya son legales". Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  5. ^ Jorge Alberto Chávez Reyes (20 September 2009). "Se realizó primera unión civil homosexual en Ecuador". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Legalización de uniones homosexuales en Ecuador". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Doce parejas homosexuales legalizaron su unión de hecho en Ecuador". 2 July 2010. Retrieved 10 February 2012. 
  8. ^ Dos Manzanas (16 September 2009). "Ecuador celebró la primera unión de hecho entre personas del mismo sexo, desatando la indignación de la iglesia católica". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  9. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. “Los gays nos manejamos como familia”. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  10. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Uniones homosexuales en el país son un hecho aun sin ley. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  11. ^ (in Spanish) Nueva Constitución reconoce unión gay y lésbica Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  12. ^ CONSTITUCIÓN DEL ECUADOR Archived 20 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Materville Studios – Host of Windy City Times. "Ecuadorean president supports same-sex partnerships". Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  14. ^ (in Spanish) Presidente Correa: Ecuador es un estado laico que debe respetar todas las creencias. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  15. ^ "Ecuador's new constitution goes into effect". HighBeam Research. 20 October 2008. 
  16. ^ "REGISTRO DE UNIONES DE HECHO". Ecuador ama la vida. 11 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Lavers, Michael K. (April 23, 2015). "Ecuadorian lawmakers approve civil unions bill". Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights. 
  18. ^ "Ecuador reconoce la Unión de Hecho Homosexual como un estado civil" (in Spanish). ILGALAC. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Nr 526" (PDF) (in Spanish). Asamblea Nacional. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Art. 67 Ecuador Constitution – 2008". 11 July 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  21. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Hablan los Presidenciables: Alberto Acosta Archived 5 February 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  22. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Hablan los presidenciales: Norman Wray. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  23. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Hablan los Presidenciables: Rafael Correa. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  24. ^ Rafael Correa: "En Ecuador hay criminales que quieren recuperar el poder"
  25. ^ Neuman, William (February 17, 2013). "President Correa Handily Wins Re-election in Ecuador". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ (in Spanish) Correa descarta impulsar matrimonio gay en Ecuador en nuevo mandato
  27. ^ (in Spanish) El amplio diálogo que plantea Paco Moncayo sobre el matrimonio igualitario
  28. ^ (in Spanish) Las razones por las que el matrimonio gay fue la "papa caliente" de los candidatos
  29. ^ (in Spanish) Hoy. La campaña por el matrimonio igualitario arrancó Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  30. ^ (in Spanish) El Telégrafo. Lesbianas buscan hoy contraer matrimonio civil. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  31. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Dos mujeres tramitan su matrimonio. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  32. ^ (in Spanish) Hoy. La lucha por el matrimonio civil igualitario continúa Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  33. ^ (in Spanish) La Hora. Pamela Troya: ‘Así tenga 80 años me casaré’. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  34. ^ (in Spanish) El Comercio. Pamela Troya y Gabriela Correa presentarán una acción de protección. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  35. ^ (in Spanish) El Telégrafo. Pareja de lesbianas presenta hoy una acción de protección. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  36. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Lesbianas critican demora en justicia. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  37. ^ (in Spanish) El Comercio. Una segunda pareja homosexual intentará pedir solicitud de matrimonio en el Registro Civil. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  38. ^ (in Spanish) El Comercio. Primer matrimonio gay se celebraría mañana en Guayaquil. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  39. ^ (in Spanish) La Hora. Matrimonio homosexual: pedido fue receptado ayer. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  40. ^ (in Spanish) El Telégrafo. Pareja homosexual presentó solicitud para contraer matrimonio. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  41. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Pareja de gays pidió turno para casarse en el Registro Civil. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  42. ^ (in Spanish) Hoy. Un intento de matrimonio de homosexuales en Guayaquil Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  43. ^ (in Spanish) El Comercio. Registro Civil dice que pareja gay no cumple requisitos para casarse. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  44. ^ (in Spanish) El Universo. Registro Civil negó matrimonio a gays. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  45. ^ "Bodas LGBTI en Azuay carecen de valor jurídico" (in Spanish). El Telégrafo. 8 March 2016. 
  46. ^ "This province in Ecuador has just passed 'symbolic gay marriage'". Gay Star News. 6 March 2016. 
  47. ^ "Prefectura de Azuay aprueba matrimonio simbólico GLBTI" (in Spanish). El Universo. 4 March 2016. 
  48. ^ (in Spanish) Primera boda simbólica GLBTI se dio en Azuay
  49. ^ Religion in Latin America Chapter 5: Social Attitudes
  50. ^ Religion in Latin America Appendix A: Methodology