Argentina: First Latin American Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

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Demonstrators participating in a rally in favor of homosexual marriage await as a debate about it goes on in the National Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 14 July 2010.

© LEO LA VALLE/epa/Corbis

After a heated debate ending at 4 a.m, Argentina’s government has legalized same-sex marriage, making it the first Latin American country to grant full equal rights to gay and lesbian couples. Thirty-three lawmakers voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, 27 voted against it, and 3 abstained. The lower house had already approved the bill and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter. Thus, the bill will become a law once it is published in the country’s official bulletin.

This law came despite significant opposition, especially from the Catholic Church. More than 60,000 people marched on Congress to protest legalizing same-sex marriage in the country.

Civil unions for gay and lesbian couples are permitted in Uruguay, Buenos Aires and some parts of Mexico and Brazil, but now Argentina is the first country to legalize marriage, with all the rights that come along with it. The Associated Press predicts a coming wave of marriages, since many gay and lesbian Latin Americans have found Buenos Aires to be more tolerant than other major Latin American cities.

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