- (Photo courtesy of msnbc.com)
By Patrick Vanderpool
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – On July 15, Argentina became just the tenth nation in the entire world, and the first in Latin America, to legalize gay marriage. Legislators, backed by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, passed the same-sex marriage bill by a vote of 33-27 in the Senate after a 14 hour debate. The Senate’s vote comes about a month after the marriage equality bill was passed by Argentina’s lower legislative house, the Chamber of Deputies.
The bill will allow gay and lesbian couples the same marriage responsibilities and protections that heterosexuals are afforded. In addition to marriage equality, the bill will also offer homosexual couples the same adoption and social security rights as heterosexual couples.
While on a visit to China, President Fernandez de Kirchner said, “It’s a positive step which defends the rights of minorities in Argentina.”
The Catholic Church was among the most outspoken leaders of the public campaign against the bill, going as far as to sanction clerics who supported the bill. Buenos Aires’ archbishop described the bill as “a plan to destroy God’s plan” and a move to “deceive the children of God.” Although 90 percent of people living in Argentina describe themselves as Catholic, the bill was met with public support.
Norma Morandini, a member of President Fernandez de Kirchner’s party, compared Argentina’s discrimination of gays to the cruelty of past dictators, saying “what defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance.”
News of the bill’s passing has spurred public outcry for other Latin American countries to follow suit and legalize gay marriage. Ratified in 1999, Venezuela has what many people consider as one of the most progressive constitutions in the world. Currently, the Venezuelan Government is embroiled in a public war of words with the Catholic Church in an effort to limit the conservative institution’s role in politics. Many believe that pushing forward with a same-sex marriage bill similar to Argentina’s would challenge the conservative establishment.
Argentina’s first legal gay marriage is set to be held on August 13 between Ernesto Rodriguez Larrese and Alejandro Vanelli. Maria Rachid, who leads the Argentine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Federation, said she expected around 100 same-sex couples to wed around the same date.
For more information, please see:
Toward Freedom – Venezuela Should Follow Argentina’s Example on Gay Rights – 20 July 2010
People’s World – In Landmark Vote Argentina Legalizes Same-sex Marriage – 19 July 2010
AFP – First Gay Marriage in Argentina Set for August 13 – 16 July 2010
CNN – Argentina Legalizes Same-sex Marriage – 15 July 2010