Uruguay is a socially progressive country. Women got the vote in Uruguay 12 years before France. Uruguay is a secular state unlike Argentina, Chile or Paraguay; the Uruguayan state has not supported any religion
since 1917. The population is mainly Catholic, but not very practicing.
Uruguay is not particularly open to its gay and lesbian communities in
comparison to Brazil. There are a few gay and lesbian bars in Montevideo
and in Punta del Este, but outside those two cities there is no public
"queer" community. The only public monument to sexual diversity is
located in Ciudad Vieja (the old city). However, it was the first Latin
American country to pass a civil union law and is considered to be safe
and welcoming to gay and lesbian visitors. Civil unions are legal in
Uruguay, which convey the full rights of marriage, and there is
currently a law in the works to legalize full gay and transgendered
marriage. Even in rural areas gay travelers and expats experience little
overt discrimination.
Uruguayans are particularly sensitive about their relationships with
their neighboring countries; avoid comparing them to Argentineans and
Brazilians. Or, if you want to have fun, tell an Uruguayan that the
country is really just a department of Argentina, legally separate so
the Argentinians can avoid paying taxes.
Despite the similar names, Uruguay and Paraguay have very little in common.

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