Argentina Passes a Gay Marriage Law
by Charles Lemos, Thu Jul 15, 2010 at 04:08:57 AM EDT
The Argentine Senate voted early on Thursday morning to pass the first national gay marriage law in Latin America by a vote of 33 for to 27 against with 3 abstentions. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is on a state visit to Beijing, had strongly advocated for the measure. On Sunday, the Catholic Church in Argentina had organized a mass rally against the law, which had already been approved by the lower Chamber of Deputies, that saw some 60,000 protesters stream into the Plaza de Mayo. The protests were so over the top that President Fernández de Kirchner noted that those opposed to gay marriage were using language as if from the Spanish Inquisition.
Same-sex civil unions have been legal in Uruguay, Buenos Aires and some states in Mexico and Brazil for a number of years now. Mexico City legalized gay marriage late last year with the new law taking effect this past March. Colombia's Constitutional Court granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans.
But Argentina becomes the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, which provides more exclusive rights than civil unions, including adopting children and inheriting wealth. The new law broadly declares that ''marriage provides for the same requisites and effects independent of whether the contracting parties are of the same or different sex.''