Photo: First same-sex marriage in Latin America. DyN.
As promised, I have been diligently reading and collecting links about the unfolding struggle to legalize same-sex marriage in Argentina. I was started to feel a bit daunted by the task of translating all the ups and downs and back-and-forths of the legal wrangling that has been going on.
So imagine my delight at not only having some good news to report, but also a few English-language links that do some of the work for me.
The good news: A same-sex couple was successfully married on December 28th in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. It is the first gay marriage in all of Latin America and the Caribbean; a very important milestone for the region, both legally and symbolically.
This is wonderful news for the couple - Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello - and indeed for the movement to legalize same-sex marriage. But it does not mean that same-sex marriage is now legal in Argentina. Any others trying to follow in their footsteps will - for now - be turned away and denied the right to matrimony (and to adopt, to inherit, to get a shared loan, etc.).
The bill to legalize same-sex marriage, which was on the verge of being voted on and probably passed in Congress just a month ago, was shuffled aside at the last minute.
Unrelated to the political wrangling at the national level, there was a surprise ruling in a Buenos Aires appeals court, authorizing Freyre and Di Bello to get married in Buenos Aires. They scheduled the big day for December 1st, World AIDS Day (they are both AIDS activists), but at the last minute, a federal court overturned the ruling.
Then, the governor of Argentina's southern-most province issued a decree ordering the Civil Registry to recognize the earlier ruling that had authorized the marriage. And so this historic wedding took place in Ushuaia. It sets an important precedent for the legal and political move to extend the right to marry to all same-sex couples.
As it stands, the ruling in question and the governor's decree apply only to this case. There are several other cases, other couples, in different courts in Argentina, including the Supreme Court - demanding that denying them their right to marry is discriminatory and unconstitutional. For now, the legal struggle is being played out on a case-by-case basis.
If Congress passes the bill that was shuffled aside, couples will not be required to ask permission, to get lawyers, to await rulings. They will not be at the mercy of sympathetic or unsympathetic judges and timely or lengthy legal proceedings. They will not necessarily be subjected to the gaze of the media.
It seems likely that this will come to pass in the new year. Unsurprisingly, the Church is not amused (Spanish).
Watch out folks, this gay marriage thing is contagious - coming soon to a country near you!
And, for a little piece of Mama in Macondo trivia:
Guess who else got married in Ushuaia? Yup, that was another, colder Macondo I used to live in, but that was a whole decade ago!