The small island of Aruba in the Caribbean has voted to approve civil unions for same-sex couples. It means for the first time that people will be able to tie the knot in Aruba and extending many of the same benefits provided to married people in the country
It will mean that those who are in a civil union have access to spousal pensions and authority to make emergency medical decisions, according to NewNowNext.
Although Aruba is a officially a constituent part of the Netherlands, where same-sex marriage is legal, gay couples have in the past had to travel to the Netherlands to get married and only have their relationship recognised on their return.
Senator Desiree de Sousa-Croes, introduced a bill to allow civil unions after herself having to travel to the Netherlands to marry her partner.
“I would have wanted same-sex marriage,” Senator Croes said. “But this amendment will eliminate the need to travel to the Netherlands to marry, as our laws will soon provide rights for same-sex couples.”
The Caribbean has a multitude of different laws pertaining to being gay. Other former Dutch colonies, Saint Maarten and Curacao, still do not recognise same-sex unions.
At the time of writing homosexuality is illegal in Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.