Ecuador LGBT Laws

Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In 1997, consensual sex between same-sex couples became lawful at fourteen (14) years [R1.1].

R1.1 [Citation required]
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
1. National

Article 68 of the 2008 Constitution formally recognized same-sex civil unions under the law [D1.6] [R1.5].

“Article 68. The stable and monogamous union between two persons without any other marriage ties who have a common-law home, for the lapse of time and under the conditions and circumstances provided for by law, shall enjoy the same rights and obligations of those families bound by formal marriage ties” [D1.6].

On 22 April 2015, Members of the Ecuadorian Assembly voted 89-1 to approve a bill that would allow for the legal recognition of same-sex and opposite-sex civil unions with the same rights and obligations as in a marriage, in terms of pensions, purchasing a home together and other benefits. The partners must demonstrate they have been together for two years before entering into a civil union [R1.4].

On 24 August 2014, President Rafael Correa was reported as saying “Gays, lesbians, transgender and transsexual people have the full constitutional right to include their civil union on their ID cards”. Until now, only heterosexual marriages could be listed on the identification document [R1.3].

On 28 September 2008, Ecuadorans approved by a wide margin a new constitution allowing civil unions for same-sex couples [R1.2].

In July 2008, Ecuador’s draft constitution reportedly provided that person in same-sex unions be afforded the same rights as heterosexual marriages [R1.1].

D1.6 Polital Database of the Americas: Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador 20 OCT 08
R1.5 Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Shutting Down Clinics that “Cure Homosexuality” in Ecuador 28 NOV 11
R1.4 WashingtonBlade: Ecuadorian lawmakers approve civil unions bill 23 APR 15
R1.3 GlobalPost: Ecuador to grant same-sex unions ID recognition 24 AUG 14
R1.2 The Washington Post: Voters in Ecuador Approve Constitution 29 SEP 08
R1.1 The Advocate: Ecuador Could Give Same-Sex Unions Parity With Marriage 25 JUL 08
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Article 11 (2) of the 2008 Constitution reiterated the freedom of all peoples from discrimination [D1.5], [R1.4].

“All persons are equal and shall enjoy the same rights, duties and opportunities. No one shall be discriminated against for reasons of ethnic belonging, place of birth, age, sex, gender identity, cultural identity, civil status, language, religion, ideology, political affiliation, legal record, socio-economic condition, migratory status, sexual orientation, health status, HIV carrier, disability, physical difference or any other distinguishing feature, whether personal or collective, temporary or permanent, which might be aimed at or result in the diminishment or annulment of recognition, enjoyment or exercise of rights. All forms of discrimination are punishable by law”.


Effective August 1998, Article 23 Section 3 of the 1998 constitution of Ecuador provided that:

“Equality before the law. All individuals shall be considered equal and shall enjoy the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities, without discrimination due to birth, age, sex, ethnicity, color, social origin, language, religion, political affiliation, economic position, sexual orientation, health status, disability, or difference of any other kind” [R1.3]. The new constitution came into effect in August 1998 [R1.2].

However gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in the country continue to suffer human rights violations, according to Amnesty International [R1.1].

Most reported cases took place in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil.

D1.5 Polital Database of the Americas: Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador 20 OCT 08
R1.4 Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Shutting Down Clinics that “Cure Homosexuality” in Ecuador 28 NOV 11
R1.3 IGLHRC: IGLHRC Celebrates the 50th anniversary of the UDHR 10 DEC 98
R1.2 Capital Q: Constitutional Protection 05 FEB 99
R1.1 Amnesty International: Pride and prejudice — Time to end abuses based on sexual identity 03 APR 02
Gender Identity, Intersex,
Transgender, Transexual
1. National

On 11 February 2016, Ecuadorean lawmakers by a majority of 77 votes approved a bill that will allow citizens to change their birth name and gender identity on legal documents and national ID cards. The Bill was sent to Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa for final approval [R1.2].

On 12 December 2015, it was reported that on 10 December 2015, the National Assembly passed the Organic Law of the National Identity and Civil Data Management Service with 77 votes, 2 against, one blank vote and 20 abstentions. Among other advances, the law will enable persons of legal age – 18 years – to change their sex in their identity documents [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 11 November 2013, First Civil Judge of the Guayas, Ricardo Rivadeneira was reported to have quoted Biblical scriptures as the basis for his decision to not allow Diane Rodriguez (born Luis Benedicto) to change his gender preference on his government issued identification card. Rodriguez’s attorney, Monica Valarezo, said the ruling was likely to be appealed [R2.1].

R1.2 Telesur: Ecuadorean Lawmakers Approve New Gender Identity Law 11 FEB 16
R1.1 Miranda: Ecuador approves New Law that guarantees Gender ID 12 DEC 15
R2.1 TheChristianPost: Ecuadorian Judge Cites Biblical Scriptures in Ruling Against Transsexual Man Seeking to Change Gender Preference 11 NOV 13
Hate Crimes Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

Article 212 of the Penal Code criminalizing hate speech, sanctions those who incite hate against any other person for reason of their sex, sexual orientation, or sexual identification, among other characteristics. [R1.1].

R1.1 Centre for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Shutting Down Clinics that “Cure Homosexuality” in Ecuador 28 NOV 11
HIV Aids Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

In June 2002, the government in Ecuador was reported to have systematically denied medical care and the provision of anti-retroviral medications to persons living with HIV/Aids [R1].

R1 Agua Buena Human Rights Association: Letter to Santiago Canton, Secretary The Interamerican Human Rights Commission Word 40kb 27 JUN 02
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [AGE OF CONSENT]
1. National

On 25 November 1997, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalised [R1.2].


Article 516 of the Penal Code, punished gay sex with four to eight years in prison [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 25 November 1997, Ecuador’s Constitutional Tribunal unanimously overturned as unconstitutional the first paragraph of Article 516 of the Penal Code, which criminalized sexual activities between persons of the same sex [C2.2], [R2.1].

R1.2 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, 14 MAY 08
R1.1 Melbourne Star Observer: Latin Activists Sue 03 OCT 97
C2.2 Corto Constitucional del Ecuador (Constitutional Tribunal, Ecuador), Sentencia No. 111-97-TC, Registro Oficial (Official Registry), Supp., No. 203, 27 NOV 97
R2.1 Capital Q: Sex Ban Struck Off 05 NOV 97
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [CIVIL UNIONS]
1. National

As at 31 January 2011, Article 67 of the constitution (2008) provides:-

Family in its various forms is recognized. The State shall protect it as the fundamental core of society and shall guarantee conditions that integrally favor the achievement of its goals. They shall be comprised of legal or common-law ties and shall be based on the equality of rights and the opportunities of their members [R1.1].

Marriage is the union of man and woman and shall be based on the free consent of the persons entering into this bond and on the equality of rights, obligations and legal capacity [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 29 March 2019, the Constitutional Court reportedly heard oral arguments in the case of Efraín Soria and his partner, Javier Benalcázar, a gay couple from the country’s capital of Quito who tried to apply for a marriage license last May. A ruling is expected in 20 days [C2.3], [R2.2].

On 04 July 2018, it was reported that judges in the Family, Women, Children and Adolescents Court in the city of Cuenca ruled in favor of two lesbian couples. The Civil Registry office had rejected the couples’s marriage license applications. In two separate hearings Judges Iliana Vallejo and Ruth Alvarez ruled the Civil Registry must ‘immediately’’ allow the women to get married. The Civil Registry office appealed the decision. The case has now escalated to the Provincial Court of Justice of Azuay [R2.1].

R1.1 Political Database of the Americas: Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador (Accessed 31 MAR 19)
C2.3 Case: Consulta de Constitucionalidad de Norma (Soria and Benalcázar) No. 0011-18-CN
R2.2 WashingtonBlade: Ecuador Constitutional Court hears marriage case 29 MAR 19
R2.1 GayStarNews: In historic move, court rules Ecuador’s same-sex marriage ban is illegal 04 JUL 18
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/Documents/References
1. National

Article 68 of the Ecuador Constitution of 2008, adoption is only permitted by different-gender couples however, a single person is allowed to adopt a child [D1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 21 June 2018, it was reported that the Constitutional Court in a 5-3 decision recognized the right to identity of children with same-sex parents. Nicola Rothon and Helen Bicknell, two British women living in Ecuador who are in a civil union, conceived their child Satya through artificial insemination. It is customary for people to have two surnames: in the case of heterosexual couples, one last name from the paternal side and one from the maternal side, however when Rothon and Bicknell tried to register their child with both of their surnames, the Civil Registry of Ecuador refused [R2.1].

D1.1 Polital Database of the Americas: Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador 20 OCT 08
R2.1 GlobalVoices: In Ecuador, a young girl wins the right to have the surnames of both her mothers 21 JUN 18