By Ricardo Zamora
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – On July 15th, the Argentinian Senate approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Gay rights supporters prevailed with a 33-27 majority after 14 hours of debate. The decision was announced to hundreds of supporters waiting outside the Senate.
The bill became law when President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner, a gay rights supporter, signed it on July 21st. “Today we are a society that is a little more egalitarian than last week,” Fernandez said at the signing.
Approximately 70% of Argentinians support same-sex marriage. However, as in other cultures, Argentina remains divided on the issue. The Examiner reports that while opponents of the bill proposed a “union bill” as a compromise, it omitted several rights that were provided by the Senate bill.
The Associate Press stated that the “union bill” would have limited rights, including the right to adopt children or pursue in-vitro fertilization. It added that civil servants could unilaterally object to registering homosexual couples in a same-sex union.
The new bill grants same-sex couples the full legal protections and responsibilities given to heterosexual couples in marriage. Those rights include the ability to inherit property and to jointly adopt children.
Mexico City was the first region in South America to legalize same-sex marriages. Argentina may be the second, but it is the first country to do so. Argentina’s first gay marriage is scheduled for August 13 between two partners who have lived together for 34 years. Mexico City has promised the couple a free honeymoon to Mexico.
The Catholic Church is a major voice of opposition. ABC reports that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio called gay marriage in Argentina “a loss for everyone,” saying “children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother.
The passing of the bill has worsened the Fernandez administration’s already strained relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.
For more information, please see:
Time – International Gay Marriage – 22 July 2010
Associated Press – Argentina’s Gay Marriage Law Signed by President – 21 July 2010
ABC – Mexico City Promises a Free Honeymoon to Argentina’s First Married Gay Couple – 17 July 2010
The Examiner – Argentina’s Senate Passes Historic Same-Sex Marriage Bill – 16 July 2010