In Latin America first, Argentina legalizes gay marriage
Argentina today became the first country in Latin America to embrace same-sex marriage nationwide. Until now, only cities had legalized such rights, as did Mexico City in December.
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Some political analysts have suggested the president's support is a political calculation to garner votes for upcoming presidential elections in 2011, in which former president Nestor Kirchner, Fernandez's husband, is widely expected to run.Skip to next paragraph
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But the Kirchners and their supporters are hardly outliers on the issue.
Mexico City became the first city in Latin America to approve gay marriage in December. The bill here came as civil unions between same-sex couples gained steam across Latin American cities, first in Buenos Aires in 2002 and later in cities throughout Mexico and Brazil. Uruguay in 2008 legalized civil unions nationwide. The next year, the Constitutional Court in Colombia granted same-sex couples rights such as inheritance and health insurance.
Argentina has now gone the furthest of any nation in the region, and proponents are hoping the move influences other nations.
Will other nations follow?
“I think it will have enormous impact in Argentina and South America and around the world, including in the US, because it signifies the tremendous momentum in favor of the freedom to marry,” says Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry in the US.
Twelve countries now have ended exclusions for gay marriage, he says, and the emphasis in Argentina on equal rights for all will be instructive for other nations moving forward.
“It centered on how a country like Argentina must stand for equality for all, including vulnerable minorities when it comes to civil law [issues] such as marriage licenses,” he says. “What many legislators and the president said is that it is important to shore up the rule of law and true democratic values, rather than playing favorites or imposing one group's view.”
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