Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina: Legislature backs gay marriage bill

Argentina will soon become the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriages after an intense debate in the country’s Senate.

By 33-27 vote, the upper legislative house approved the proposal that would permit gay and lesbian couples to have the same rights as heterosexual couples. “I believe this has advanced equal rights,” said Senator Eugenio Artaza to the press after discussion over the proposal that lasted over fourteen tense hours and ended at 4 a.m.

The bill is expected to be signed by President Cristina Fernandez and public opinion polls show that most Argentines favor the initiative. Yet that didn’t stop several thousand protestors of gay marriage from demonstrating in front of the Congressional building. One activist against the bill told the BBC that her opposition was not discriminatory since "the essence of a family is between two people of opposite sexes".

Latin America has gradually changed its laws in recent years to permit increased rights for homosexuals; Mexico City legalized gay marriage while same-sex unions are allowed in Uruguay and some Brazilian states.

Despite the staunch opposition to the Argentine bill by some religious figures, one local senator provided a differing spiritual view:
“I admit that I am a non-practicing Catholic. But I got married, had children and baptized them, and I felt ashamed of the comments (against the bill) by my pastor. Monsignor Bergoglio shouldn’t have said that the devil’s will is within this bill.”
Image- BBC News (Anti-gay marriage banner reads “Neither union nor adoption. Only man and wife.”)
Online Sources- Clarin, UPI, Globe and mail, BBC News, MSNBC

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