At 4 am on July, 15, 2010, after a fourteen hour long debate, the Argentinean Senate approved the law that authorizes same-sex marriages. 33 senators voted in favour of the bill, 27 against and 3 abstained. Argentina thus became the first Latin American country and one of the few around the world to legalize gay marriage.
The debate became very heated at times. Every senator had the chance to speak; topics like homosexuality and what it means to be homosexual, religion, traditional family values and discrimination were discussed.
The new law grants homosexual couples the same rights, responsibilities and protections as heterosexual couples. From now on, same-sex couples will be able to adopt children and inherit wealth, for example.
Adoption proved to be a highly controversial issue. Some senators supported the idea that homosexual couples should be able to adopt children. In reality, under the current adoption legislation no one is required to state their sexual orientation, which means that homosexuals were able to adopt. The difference is that now they can do it as a couple.
This law faced fierce opposition by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical organizations. The Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, campaigned actively against the passage of this bill by sending out a letter to every parish and Catholic school urging congregations to participate in the protest march to be held on July 13. The march drew 60,000 people but these efforts eventually proved futile.
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, actively supported the law. With their usual confrontational style, the couple rebuked the Catholic Church saying that “it was time for religious leaders to recognize how much more liberal and less discriminatory the nation’s social mores have become”.
Some political observers and members of the opposition accused the Kirchners of opportunism as this law might be seen as an achievement of the current administration (although it actually was proposed by the opposition) and thus improve Mr. Kirchner’s chances of wooing liberal voters when he runs for president in 2011.
Politics aside, one thing is clear: there has been a shift in Argentinean society towards equality and broad-mindedness in the last decade or so and the grip of the Catholic Church on the country’s affairs is not as strong as it used to be.
La Nacion daily newspaper
The Daily Telegraph
The New York Times
Photos: La Nacion
About the authorAna
8 comments for “Argentina legalizes gay marriage”
This must be a great day for the gay community in Argentina.
Hi Sanjay. According to the newspapers, it was a great day not only for the gay community in Argentina but in other Latin American countries too because it gave them hope.
Yes, it would. Sexual orientation is a touchy topic almost everywhere in the world.
Leaving the US in the dust! There are legal domestic partnerships for same sex couples in some states, but people try to find all kinds of legislative ways to make it difficult. A co-worker and her partner are having a kid this year, so it’s a subject I’m well acquainted with. The insurance qualifications are ridiculous. Thanks for this post!
Sean, glad you liked the post. There’s material about this subject for a few more!
Before this law was passed, civil unions (probably the same as legal domestic partnerships) were legal in only a handful of cities and when the ceremony hit the headlines for some reason, invariably somebody went to court to try to stop it!
So far, two justices of the peace have publicly stated that they will refuse to carry out the marriage ceremony on religious grounds but will have their deputies do it. It is within their rights to refuse as long as this doesn’t interfere with the marriage. This shows that a sector of the population still wasn’t ready for this.
The same happened when divorce was legalized: it was the end of the world as they knew it but it was gradually accepted and nowadays no one can imagine what it would be like not having that legislation.
great piece ana, hopefully Australia follows their lead in the future.
My partner wrote a personal perspective about this amazing news. Great day for humanity!
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