Ecuador high court approves marriage for 2 gay couples

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador's highest court on constitutional norms has granted two gay couples the right to marry in a landmark case seeking to expand LGBT rights in the small South American nation.

Wednesday's decision by the Constitutional Court comes after a lengthy legal battle by several couples and gay rights advocates.

It is not immediately clear how far-reaching the ruling will be.

But plaintiff Efraín Soria told The Associated Press that he will immediately begin planning a wedding with his partner, Xavier Benalcázar. He calls the ruling "a joy for our entire community and Ecuador."

A decision by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights affirming that countries should allow same-sex couples the right to marry paved the way for the case. About a half dozen Latin American nations have approved same-sex marriage.