By Patrick Vanderpool
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
Argentina’s lower legislative house, the Chamber of Deputies, recently approved a gay marriage bill. By a 125-109 vote, the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill that not only allows gay marriage, but also allows gay couples to adopt children for the first time.
Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, has a strong reputation for being gay friendly. Many bars, restaurants and other forms of entertainment specifically cater to homosexual clientele. Support for a gay marriage bill has mounted since December of last year, when the first same-sex marriage was performed in Latin America. Since that time, five same-sex couples have been married in Argentina by judges who authorized the ceremony.
The Chamber of Deputies was faced with a difficult decision: pass a bill that would allow civil unions, but would not allow adoptions; or take a bold step and allow equality across the board. When asked why he supported the equal marriage bill, Agustin Rossi, member of Front for Victory Party, explained that a civil union option “would not have solved the problem” and that the legislature was focused on “equaling rights in the most genuine manner.”
Rossi went on to say that it is very unfair for those who have power to deny equality to those who do not. Deputy Felipe Sola, who supported the bill, added that “love isn’t owned by heterosexuals.”
While there have previously been few same-sex marriages in Latin America, this victory marks the first time the body of a legislative branch has voted for same-sex marriages in Latin America. If the bill passes Argentina’s upper house, Argentina would be the first Latin American country to allow full same-sex marriage and adoption rights. Currently, Mexico City is the only place in Latin America where same-sex couples share the same marriage and adoption rights as heterosexual couples.
Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, is optimistic that the bill has the necessary support to pass. Deputies from President Fernandez’s faction, as well as members of groups on the left and right of the political spectrum, have all shown support for the bill.
For more information, please see:
Advocate.com – Argentina’s lower house OKs gay marriage bill – 5 May 2010
Bloomberg – Argentina’s Lower House Approves Gay Marriage Bill, Clarin Says – 5 May 2010
On Top Magazine – Argentina’s Lower House Approves Gay Marriage Bill – 5 May 2010
Reuters – Argentina’s lower house passes gay marriage bill – 5 May 2010