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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage

Argentina rally

Argentina becomes the first South American country to fully legalize same-sex marriage today.

Argentina's lower house voted in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage in May. The Senate followed suit in a close 33 - 27 vote after 15 hours of debate on Thursday morning.

The legislation gives same-sex marriages the same legal status, rights and protections as opposite-sex marriages, including the right to adopt children. Amongst other things, the legislation declares that "marriage provides for the same requisites and effects independent of whether the contracting parties are of the same or different sex."

The legislation was endorsed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, but faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

While tens of thousands of Argentinians protested the legislation on Tuesday, opinion polls of the country showed support for gay marriage. That support was, however, limited to marriage, not to the adoption of children, which was opposed in opinion polls.

Not all Catholic priests lined up behind opposition to gay marriage. Father Jose Nicolas Allesio of St. Cajetans in the city of Cordoba publicly supported gay marriage.

His very public and outspoken support for the measure has rankled the Catholic Church in Argentina, leading Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez of Cordoba to begin "canonical proceedings" against the renegade priest.

Same-sex civil unions had been legal in Buenos Aires since 2002, which was followed by several cities in Mexico and Brazil. Civil unions are legal in Uruguay.

Image: Supporters of same-sex marriage rallied on Congress during the debate.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on July 15, 2010 in International Politics | Permalink

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