Obama decision on gay marriage ripples through Latin America (+video)
Gay marriage is legal in parts of Latin America, but is still controversial with much of the population. Obama's statement may reignite debate.
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Argentina has gone the furthest in the region with its 2010 national move to legalize same-sex unions. But Mexico City also grabbed headlines in December 2009 when the megalopolis legalized same-sex marriage. After Argentina, state courts in Brazil held that civil unions could be converted to marriages, and the top appeals court upheld those marriages last fall.Skip to next paragraph
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Those moves came after growing support for civil unions between same-sex couples across the region, first in Buenos Aires in 2002, and later in cities throughout Mexico and Brazil. Uruguay legalized civil unions nationwide, as did Brazil later.
Mr. Cazal says that while the Catholic Church has condemned the gay rights movement, the church is “one enemy,” he says, making it easier to fight than the disparate religious lobbies in the US (even though evangelicals have been gaining ground across Central and South America and are among the most vociferous opponents of gay marriage in the region).
President Obama, the first sitting US president to endorse gay marriage, told ABC News yesterday that "At a certain point, I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married."
Conservative politicians across the world, including Latin America, quickly took a stance against Obama. "Barack Obama is an ethical man and a philosophically confused man," a Peruvian congresswoman Martha Chavez, told the AP. "He knows that marriage isn't an issue only of traditions or of religious beliefs. Marriage is a natural institution that supports the union of two people of different sexes because it has a procreative function."
Obama's words are likely to draw increasing reaction. "There is no doubt that this is going to have an impact, especially for conservative leaders who look to the US much more than ... to progressive leaders on this continent,” says Mr. Cazal of Somosgay.
“It is going to place the issue on the agenda and it is going to generate a debate in Latin America and around the world,” says Ms. Corral from LAPOP.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The original story inaccurately represented how LAPOP measured support for gay marriage.]
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