COLOMBIA has become the fourth South American country to legalise same-sex marriage.

Earlier in the month, the country’s constitutional court dismissed a petition against equal marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples.

But Judge Maria Victoria Calle has now ruled that same-sex marriage does “not violate constitutional order” – effectively making it legal.

“The current definition of the institution of marriage in civil law applies to them in the same way as it does for couples of the same sex,” she told the court.

Previously same-sex couples in Colombia could only have their unions formally recognised by judges and notaries, but this landmark decision means they now have the legal right to marry.

It is the fourth South American country to legalise same-sex marriage, after Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.

Same-sex marriage is also legal in the capital and several states of Mexico.

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