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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina Legalizes Same-Sex Marriages!

By Roy Heale
Buenos Aires, Argentina

It's a case of deja vu for me personally! As a young gay teenager growing up in London, England I never thought I would live long enough to see the legalization of same-sex marriages. Now I have been fortunate enough to live in two countries and be a witness as this important “equality” legislation is passed---Canada and now Argentina.

After a fourteen hour marathon session of debates and speeches on July 15th., 2010 Argentina has become the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage after the Government Upper House, the Senate voted in favor of same-sex marriage legislation. Coincidentally, 2010 is Argentina's Bicentennial Year and this is an amazing way to celebrate this country's history as a tolerant society.

The country's Lower House, the Chamber of Deputies, had already approved the legislation a few weeks earlier.

The vote in the Senate, which endorsed the bill by just six votes, approved the legislation---backed by President Cristina Fernandez's centre-left government---passed by 33 votes to 27 with three abstentions.

The law, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, had met with strong vocal opposition from the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Outside Congress, as the debate continued into the early hours of the morning, supporters and opponents of the bill held rival but mostly peaceful demonstrations. Local television stations covered the entire debate with a live broadcast and follow-up interviews and comments after the vote was completed.

A few gay marriages have occurred recently in Argentina, some of which were annulled by the Supreme Court, creating a legal controversy.

In Buenos Aires and some provinces same-sex Civil Unions have been legal for some time other but there was no law to regulate it on a national level.

Argentina's capital is widely considered to be among the most gay-friendly cities in Latin America. It was the first Latin American city to legalise same-sex unions.

Same-sex civil unions are also legal in Mexico, some states in Brazil, and Uruguay, while gay marriage is legal in Mexico City. But Argentina will go down in history as the first South American country to legalize same-sex marriages and adoptions nationally.

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