Uruguay has become the 12th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, which was signed into law by President Jose Mujica last week.

President Mujica signed legislation on 3 May which gives same-sex couples in Uruguay the right to marry from 1 August.

The bill was passed by Congress in April with overwhelming support, 71 out of 92 members being in favour. The Senate approved the bill earlier the same month.

Opposition politician, Fernando Amado of the centre-right Colorado party said: “I agree that family is the basis of society but I also believe that love is the basis of family. And love is neither homosexual nor heterosexual.”

This most recent vote was not the first time that the country’s lower house has voted on equal marriage. The Marriage Equality Law, approved on 11 December by the lower house, was backed by the governing coalition.

In recent years, Uruguay has moved to allow same-sex civil unions, adoption by gay couples, and to allow openly gay members of the armed forces.

Uruguay is the 12th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage, and the second in South America, following Argentina.

In 2010, Argentina’s Senate voted 33-27 to support a bill to legalise equal marriage. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner supported the legislation, making Argentina the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriage, and full adoption.

Individual Brazilian states have also been following suit, with 13 out of 26 now allowing same-sex marriage.