Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina legalizes gay marriage in historic vote

"Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples," reports CBC. "After a marathon debate in Argentina's senate, 33 lawmakers voted in favor, 27 against and three abstained in a vote that ended after 4 a.m. local time. Since the lower house already approved it and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, it becomes law as soon as it is published in the official bulletin, which should happen within days. While it makes some amendments to the civil code, many other aspects of family law will have to be changed."

Argentina became the first Latin American nation to legalize gay marriage Thursday, granting same-sex couples all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexuals.

Gays and lesbians who have already found Buenos Aires to be a welcoming place to live will likely rush to the altar, but same-sex couples from other countries will need to live in Argentina before becoming eligible, and the necessary residency documents can take months to obtain.

The approval came despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to march on Congress and urged parents in churches and schools to work against passage. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio led the campaign, saying "children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother."

Opponents of gay marriage proposed a civil-union law instead that would have barred gays from adopting or undergoing in-vitro fertilization to have children, and enabled any civil servant to "conscientiously object" to register gay couples.

In the end, parliamentary maneuvers kept the Senate from voting on civil unions as the government bet all or nothing on the more politically difficult option of marriage.

"I'm proud that we never tried for civil unions, always for complete equality," said Esteban Paulon, the LGBT federation's general secretary. He credits "an enormous conviction that equality means the same rights with the same names." READ MORE


Mormon official did have role in Argentina gay-marriage battle:
Despite the LDS Church’s claim last week that it had not taken a stand on Argentina’s move to allow gay marriage, a high-ranking church official did join other religious leaders there to plan opposition to the bill.

Carlos Aguero, LDS public-affairs director for Argentina and a former Area Authority Seventy, attended a July 7 meeting with leaders from several conservative Christian churches and traditional family organizations, according to a Buenos Aires newspaper.
Aguero did not respond to phone or e-mail queries Thursday, but LDS spokesman Scott Trotter said Aguero’s participation in the protest planning should not be seen as a church endorsement of the opposition.

“The [LDS] Church has made its support of traditional marriage clear but it does not involve itself institutionally in every same-sex election contest,” Trotter said. “The church took no official position on the marriage legislation in Argentina and did not organize its members to participate in opposing the legislation.”

Instead, Mormon leaders in Argentina on Sunday read a letter from the Utah-based church’s governing First Presidency, reiterating its support for traditional marriage, to all congregations in that South American country. The letter did not ask members to contribute time or money to the opposition, as it had in California’s Proposition 8, which opposed gay marriage. READ MORE