Buenos Aires was the first Latin American city to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples in 2002, and eight years later Argentina became the first country in the region to legalize gay marriage. And Uruguay passed legislation in April 2013 to allow same-sex couples to marry. Civil unions are legal on a national level in Brazil, while some Mexican cities permit it as well.
In December 2009, Mexico City legalized same-sex marriages, and some Brazilian state courts have deemed that civil unions can be converted to same-sex marriages, a ruling that was upheld in an appeal in 2011.
Despite the legal status of gay marriage in some Latin American countries, however, support for gay marriage in the region is lower than it is in the United States: 26.8 percent compared to 47.4 percent, according to a 2010 survey on gay marriage by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) at Vanderbilt University. The low approval ratings could be attributed to the large Catholic and evangelical populations in many parts of the Americas. (Read the Monitor’s coverage on the region’s response to Obama’s gay marriage statement here.)