Chile’s parliament has approved a landmark law legalizing same-sex marriage in the majority Catholic country.
With 82 votes in favor, 20 against and two abstentions, lawmakers on Tuesday Dec. 7 overwhelmingly voted for the law, which will also allow same-sex couples to adopt children.
The law was first presented in 2017 by then-president Michelle Bachelet, now the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, but was stalled in Congress until the current right-wing, conservative president Sebastian Piñera surprised his allies by voicing his support.
“I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country,” Piñera said in June, CNN reported. “In this way, all people without distinguishing by sexual orientation, will be able to live love and form a family with all the protection and dignity that they need and deserve.”
He is now expected to sign the bill into law.
“Today is a historic day, our country has approved same-sex marriage, one more step forward in terms of justice, in terms of equality, recognizing that love is love,” the country’s Minister of Social Development said after the vote.
The bill had already been partially approved in November but was sent back by the Senate to clarify ambiguities earlier in December.
Chile will now join Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Ecuador and 24 of Mexico’s states in Latin America, as well as the more than 20 countries worldwide, to legalize same-sex marriage.
The country approved same-sex civil unions in 2015, but the new law will now provide same-sex couples equal benefits as heterosexual couples, such as the right to adopt children.