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The President of Uruguay Tabaré Vázquez signed a decree last week lifting a ban on homosexuals in the armed forces. That ban—imposed by the military dictatorship in power from 1973 to 1985—barred individuals with “open sexual deviations” from entering military academies.
On the heels of the decree, Vázquez told reporters the “state does not discriminate against citizens for their political view or for their sexual choice.” Adding weight to that assertion is Uruguay’s status as the first Latin American country to have legalized civil unions for homosexual couples.
Such progressive legislation places Uruguay at the forefront of a larger trend toward acceptance of homosexuality in Latin America, albeit still at a nascent stage. Buenos Aires, the Argentine captial, approved civil unions in 2002. In 2006, Mexico City passed its Societal Cohabitation Law granting marital rights to homosexual couples. And in 2008, Nicaragua decriminalized same-sex relations.
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