The case was brought by a gay couple who have been trying to get married for 12 years.

The Constitutional Court of Ecuador has begun hearing evidence which could see the South American country legalise same-sex marriage.

The case was brought by gay couple, Efraín Soria and Javier Benalcázar, who have been trying to get married in the country for 12 years. After they were rejected again last year, they took the case to the Provincial Court of Justice of Pichincha.

The court then referred the case up to the Constitutional Court, as it sought clarification over a ruling last year by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), which ruled that all countries under its jurisdiction needed to legalise same-sex marriage.

Giving evidence to the court, Soria said: “This is not a whim, civil marriage is not a privilege, we seek to be treated like any other citizen in Ecuador.”

Last year, following the IACHR ruling, some Ecuadorian courts began ruling that banning same-sex marriage was illegal, although no legal changes have happened.

The IACHR ruling ordered that all of the countries “guarantee access to all existing forms of domestic legal systems, including the right to marriage, in order to ensure the protection of all the rights of families formed by same-sex couples without discrimination.”

The Costa Rican government agreed with the ruling, saying in a statement: “Love is a human condition that should be respected, without discrimination of any kind.”

And following a general election, which saw the pro-LGBTQ president, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, elected, he pledged: “My commitment is to a government for everybody, in equality and liberty for a more prosperous future.”

Costa Rica’s Supreme Court also ruled that legislative framework must have been passed by February 2020, otherwise the Court itself will legalise same-sex marriage in the country.