MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (CNN) -- Uruguay on Wednesday became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex adoption, after the senate voted to approve a bill modifying the country's adoption statute.
"It is a right for the boys and the girls, not a right for the adults," Sen. Margarita Percovich said after the vote. "It streamlines the adoption process and does not discriminate."
The expected senate approval followed passage of the bill earlier this month by the lower chamber of congress.
The adoption measure would be the most recent in a series of progressive laws passed with the backing of President Tabare Vazquez.
Last year, lawmakers approved a measure allowing children aged 12 or older to change their names, a measure aimed at transgender or transsexual youths.
Uruguay also authorized same-sex civil unions last year, setting the stage for the current adoption law.
The law will pave the way for gays and lesbians to start a family, Daniel Alonso, a resident of the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, told CNN.
"You have plans to form a family, to adopt. When you have a law that protects you, it makes you want to have a child," he said. "You feel part of society."
The measure was not without opponents from conservatives and the clergy.
Last month, Archbishop Nicolas Cotugno of Montevideo, released a statement warning of consequences for society should the law pass, the Catholic News Agency reported.
"The adoption of children by homosexual couples is not a question of religion, philosophy or sociology. It has to do with respect for human nature itself," he said, according to CNA. "To accept the adoption of children by homosexual couples is to go against human nature itself, and consequently, it is to go against the fundamental rights of the human being as a person."