2008 January 21 – pr-inside.com
Argentine gay couple defies country’s civil union ban, braces for legal battle
Buenos Aires, Argentina (AP) – Two leaders of Argentina’s leading homosexual rights organization were married Monday in Madrid in defiance of their country’s ban on gay marriage. Cesar Cigliutti and Marcelo Suntheim said they would demand legal recognition of their marriage in Argentina. "We came to Spain because there is a marriage law here that allows the union of homosexuals and in Argentina there isn’t," Cigliutti, president of the Argentine Homosexual Community, told The Associated Press from Madrid. The newlyweds celebrated with friends Monday before a honeymoon in Egypt. The Madrid wedding was made possible by Suntheim’s dual citizenship in Argentina and Germany _ allowing him to marry within the European Union. They chose Spain for its cultural similarities to Argentina.
Although Argentina does not recognize gay marriage, the Buenos Aires legislature approved a law in 2002 permitting same-sex civil unions, granting gay couples in the Argentine capital economic and family rights similar to those of heterosexual couples. Similar laws are also in place in the Patagonian province of Rio Negro and a small city in the province of Cordoba. Uruguay is the only country in Latin America that has legalized gay civil unions nationwide. Buenos Aires has undergone a gay tourism boom in the past five years, rivaling Rio de Janeiro as the unofficial «gay capital» of South America. The continent’s first luxury gay hotel opened in the city in late October.
But past attempts by homosexuals to marry in Argentina have been rejected by the judicial system in this predominantly Roman Catholic country. Cigliutti said he and Suntheim, secretary of the Argentine Homosexual Community, will have to fight for recognition in court. "It’s not going to be easy. … But we’re already married, Spain recognizes us," said Cigliutti. "We want Argentina to recognize us as well." Same-sex civil unions have recently been recognized by Mexico City, the Mexican state of Coahuila and Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state.
February 01, 2008 – Between The Lines Newspaper: Return to PrideSource
Argentine couple seeks recognition of Spanish marriage
by Rex Wockner
Argentine gay activists Cesar Cigliutti and Marcelo Suntheim got married in Spain on Jan. 21 and plan to demand that Argentina recognize their marriage. The Argentine capital of Buenos Aires and the province of Rio Negro have same-sex civil-union laws, but there is no established mechanism anywhere in the nation for recognizing same-sex marriages from the six countries that allow them.
Anyone from the European Union can marry in Spain. Suntheim and Cigliutti were able to tie the knot because Suntheim has dual Argentine and German citizenship. Same-sex marriage also is legal in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Canada has no citizenship or residency requirements for getting married, and foreign same-sex couples often accomplish the deed in a one-day visit.
(Assistance: Bill Kelley Filed from San Diego)
August 19, 2008 – PinkNews
Widowed gays win rights in Argentina
by Jamie Skey
The Argentinian government has granted same sex couples the right to claim their deceased partners’ pension. As part of the country’s first gay-rights measure, couples must prove they have been living together for at least five years to receive the benefit. The National Social Security Administration’s director, Amado Boudo, is to sign the resolution on Tuesday, and it will become law upon publication the following Wednesday. Gay activists welcomed Monday’s announcement as the fruition of years of campaigning the government to grant them the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
The measure is "historic" and marks a "step forward" for human rights because it is the first nationwide gay-rights measure approved by the government, gay activist Pedro Paradiso Sottile told The Associated Press. "The government is moving past words to action," said Sottile, an activist with the 24-year-old Argentine Homosexual Community organization in Buenos Aires.
Prior to the new decree, the deceased partners’ pensions went directly to the government. "The state was stealing our money," said Alejandra Portatadino, also a member of the Argentine Homosexual Community, calling the previous law "discriminatory" and "anti-constitutional."
The organization will now focus efforts on nationalising civil unions, which would confer additional rights to gay couples, such as adoption and inheritance, Mr Sottile said. Buenos Aires was the first Latin American capital city to legalize gay civil unions in 2002. Since then, the Argentine capital has become one of the hotspots on the international gay-friendly tourist circuit, going head-to-head with Rio de Janeiro.
February 27, 2009 – blabbeando.blogspot.com
Argentina: Ban on gay soldiers is lifted, effective today
While there are signs that neither the Obama administration nor the US Congress are in a rush to lift the damaging "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" military policy which requires that soldiers who disclose their homosexuality be kicked out of military service, there is some great news today from Argentina.
A translated excerpt from an article published today in AG Magazine, one of the best LGBT news portals in Argentina: In Argentina, starting today, a new military justice system goes into effect which decriminalizes homosexuality among uniformed members, eliminates the death penalty, and moves crimes committed exclusively within the military to the public justice sphere [previously there had been a separate military court system]. Under the old system, gays were not permitted to have access to a military career, at the same time as this sexual orientation was penalized. And, while there are no publicly known former sanctions against gays under the old policy, this does not mean that men and women with that sexual orientation have not been disciplined, and perhaps separated from the armed forces under a mantle of silence.
In fact, with this new system, gay men or lesbian women who wish to train in the forces should encounter no impediment, nor any military retaliation areas. According to the AP, the new law replaces one that had been in the books since 1958, and goes into effect today, six months after it was approved by Argentina’s legislative body and promoted by President Cristina Férnandez de Kirchner. Clarin says that the changes in the military code resulted, in part, from the American Convention on Human Rights strong opposition to the death penalty clause that existed in the previous code. Some see the changes as putting further distance between modern Argentina and its military dictatorship years, particularly since it puts the military under purview of the country’s public courts.
One more LGBT rights development in a Latin American nation that leap-frogs over current US policy.
March 2009 – dailyqueernews.com
October 29, 2009 – The Seattle Times
Argentine Congress considers same-sex marriage
by Vanessa Hand Orellana. Associated Press Writer
Is Argentina ready to become Latin America’s first nation to legalize gay marriage? Gay and lesbian activists think so – and they have a growing number of supporters in Congress, which opened debate Thursday on whether to change dozens of laws that define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
"We can’t expect social equality if the state is legitimizing inequality," said Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Federation. "We now have the social and political context necessary to change the law." It remains to be seen whether activists have enough votes to overcome opposition from religious groups. The Roman Catholic Church remains a driving force in Argentina, where presidents were required to be both married and Catholic until a 1994 reform.
Some Catholic and evangelical Christian groups have accused the government of trying to subvert the natural order of life, promote perversions and destroy the family as an institution. "This should not be understood as the denial of anyone’s rights," said Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe, who took a gentler tone in a recent radio address. "It’s possible both to be progressive and to defend the family, founded on the institution of marriage."
Argentina’s capital established its gay-friendly reputation in 2002 by becoming the first Latin American city to legalize same-sex civil unions. Four other Argentine cities later did the same, and such unions also now are recognized in Mexico City and some Mexican and Brazilian states. Uruguay alone has legalized civil unions nationwide. Canada is the only nation in the Americas where gay marriage is now legal; in the Spanish-speaking world, only Spain has taken this additional step.
The capital’s civil-unions law was initially celebrated as a huge victory for gay and lesbian rights, but such partnerships don’t confer many rights exclusive to married couples, such as the right to adopt children in the name of both parents, to enable a partner to gain citizenship and to inherit wealth or be included in insurance policies. "A civil union is a link that grants certain rights, but not those available to a married couple, which only a national law can grant," the bills’ co-sponsor, Rep. Vilma Ibarra, told The Associated Press. "This is the first round in a long process, but it is already a success to have it out there."
Rep. Julian Martin Obiglio, a minority party member, is among lawmakers who would rather expand the rights that apply to civil unions than alter the definition of marriage. "I don’t think the term should be the same for a union between a man and a woman and two people of the same sex," Obiglio said. The proposal has ruling-party support but President Cristina Fernandez has yet to take a public stand on gay marriage. Rachid said more than 20 lawmakers have signed on as supporters of same-sex marriage, and they believe they have enough votes in committee for a full vote in the lower house. It would then go to the Senate.
Rachid and her partner, Claudia Castro, were among the first same-sex couples in Buenos Aires to form a civil union – and the first to test Argentine law by applying for a marriage license in 2007. Their lawsuit over the denial is pending at the Supreme Court. "The opinion of religious leaders who dictate how other people should lead their lives should apply only to those who share their creed, and not to the rest of society," Rachid said.
"We don’t need a law to define us as a couple – we’ve already been a couple for more than 10 years," Castro added. "We just want to have equal rights." If the law passes, the couple plan to be first in line for a marriage license.
November 13, 2009- PinkNews
Argentinian judge permits gay couple to marry
by Jessica Geen
A gay couple in Argentina have been given permission to marry by a judge. Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello were granted the right by Judge Gabriela Seijas in Buenos Aires. The city became the first in Argentina to allow civil unions in 2002 but gay rights campaigners say same-sex marriage should be legalised.
The couple have said that the decision will make them the first gay couple in Latin America to have the right to wed. According to Reuters, Seijas’ ruling said: "The law should treat everyone with the same respect according to their singularities, without the need to understand or regulate them." Her decision can still be overturned by city authorities.
Only a few areas of Argentina recognise civil unions between same-sex couples: Buenos Aires itself, the province of Río Negro in Patagonia, and the city of Villa Carlos Paz in Córdoba province. Since the 2002 decision to allow civil unions, Buenos Aires has become one of the hotspots on the international gay-friendly tourist circuit, going head-to-head with Rio de Janeiro.
29 November 2009 – The Guardian
Gay Argentine couple’s wedding plans divide an entire continent
by Annie Kelly, The Observer
Two Argentinians will this week become the first gay couple in Latin America to get married, following a three-year campaign that pitted politician against politician, overturned laws and angered millions of Catholics. The Beruti register office in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires will never have witnessed a marriage like it. On Tuesday, Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello, who met three years ago at a conference on HIV, will make history and divide a continent as they become Latin America’s first gay married couple.
The ceremony will be a tribute to their determination as well as their love for each other, after a bitter three-year campaign which has divided a city, outraged Argentina’s powerful Roman Catholic church and overturned the constitution. Freyre and Di Bello’s forthcoming nuptials have been debated on television, in churches and on the street. Hostile posters can be found on billboards across the city. But, in Di Bello’s words, nothing can now prevent him and his partner becoming "husband and husband".
Not surprisingly, the marriage is already being hailed by equality activists as a significant triumph against the odds in a traditionally macho society. Argentina – and Latin America in general – is not known for a tolerance of sexual diversity, and violence against gays is an everyday occurrence.
"This marriage is bigger than José María and I," Freyre told the Observer. "It is a victory for all who face prejudice and discrimination across Latin America and the Caribbean. It is proof that at last the grip of the Catholic church is slipping across Latin America, the system that has kept gay communities silent and fearful is crumbling. What is happening on Tuesday is a strike against those attitudes that have repressed sexual rights across this continent for too long."
The most controversial marriage in Argentina’s history became possible when a city court judge ruled that it was unconstitutional for civil law to stipulate that a marriage can exist only between a man and a woman. The marriage licence was granted on 16 November. Since then, the couple and their lawyers have come under virulent attack from church leaders, who have warned that the marriage could act as the catalyst for the swift decline of the continent’s traditional family values.
The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio, has publicly lashed out at the city’s mayor, Mauricio Macri, who decided not to lodge an appeal against the judge’s decision to grant the marriage licence. An appeal by the city government against the judge’s ruling would, in effect, have overturned the judge’s decision and stopped the licence being granted. Bergoglio said that, in failing to act, Macri had "gravely failed" at his task of governing.
For his part, Macri issued a statement saying that he had gone through "an important internal debate", adding: "We have to live with and accept this reality: the world is moving in this direction." He said government officials should "safeguard the right of each person to freely choose with whom they want to form a couple and be happy". Anti-Macri posters showing two men kissing and asking "Did you vote Macri for this?" have been plastered across Buenos Aires in protest at the marriage.
Last week, as media interest in the marriage reached fever pitch, Freyre and Di Bello spent their last days as single men crisscrossing Buenos Aires from TV studio to radio station. "It’s become so much bigger than us that I forget that I’m actually getting married and we haven’t even arranged anything for the wedding," said Freyre. Freyre and Di Bello, both long-term activists and HIV and equality rights campaigners, are now offering their legal team to other couples who want to win the right to marry through city courts. "What can’t happen is that this becomes a one-off," said Freyre. "We may have won our battle, but we don’t want to be the exception."
Campaigners are now hoping that gay and lesbian couples in other cities will extend the fight to outside the capital. Claudio Rosso, a 32-year-old psychoanalyst from the city of Rosario, believes that the marriage will send a strong message that the law is finally supporting the rights of gay people across the country. "This can change the way the gay community perceives itself," said Rosso. "It will take time for this to have an impact outside of Buenos Aires, but for the gay community in Argentina the feeling that you have the law on your side creates a feeling of positivity and optimism that things can change."
Although the new judicial ruling sets no precedent beyond this case, lawyers for the couple hope the ruling will increase pressure on lawmakers to debate a gay marriage bill currently deadlocked in Congress. "This is just one marriage in one city in Latin America, we are very far away from this right being extended across the country, let alone the continent," said Analia Mariel Mas, the lead lawyer working with the couple.
"Recently, we travelled with a delegation of equality rights campaigners to the north of the country, and had people waving crucifixes at us as if they were seeing Satan in human form. So there needs to be a change to the national legislation to force through changes and uphold our constitutional rights. Change won’t happen if we try to do this case by case."
No country in Latin America allows gay marriage, although several cities in Mexico and Uruguay have followed Buenos Aires by allowing same-sex civil unions, which grant some of the rights accorded to married heterosexual couples. Earlier this year, Freyre and Di Bello rejected offers of a civil union, arguing that only marriage would give them the same legal rights and status in the eyes of the law. "We are citizens, so we are asserting our rights as citizens," said Freyre. "We have the right to the same legal status in the eyes of the law and deserve to be given the same legal protection as heterosexual couples."
Changing articles in Argentina’s civil code to allow same-sex marriage has support among deputies in President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s ruling Peronist party, although the president herself has yet to take a stand. The city is expecting large crowds to gather outside the register office on Tuesday, where plasma screens will broadcast the marriage ceremony. Security will be tight to deal with protesters. In the cafes and bars of Buenos Aires, the marriage of Di Bello and Freyre has become a constant topic of conversation. The city is considered one of Latin America’s "gay-friendly" cities and was the first place there to allow same-sex civil unions in 2002. But, for some, gay marriage is still a step too far.
On a corner in Palermo, close to where the wedding will take place, Bruno Cabral, a 42-year old civil engineer, sent an approving nod in the direction of a bank of anti-Macri posters. The marriage, he said, was an "abomination".
"Buenos Aires used to be a city which respected family, which respected traditional ways of life, but now look at what is happening, they are making mockery of marriage," he said. "This isn’t a city I recognise any more." Others see the marriage as a symbol of change for Argentina and for the continent. The wedding has received general support from the mainstream press, with many people expressing their approval of Freyre and Di Bello’s right to marry.
"To me this marriage is perfect," said Cecilia Quiles, a 26-year-old office manager. "It is only changes like this which will move us to a place where we are all respecting each other. Those who call this marriage unnatural or wrong are living in the past. We are moving on."
Freyre and Di Bello say they will be relieved when the spotlight moves elsewhere after Tuesday’s ceremony. "We have people calling us every day saying we are their heroes, people we don’t know crying on the phone saying that Tuesday will be the best day of their life," said Freyre. "But we won’t want to be heroes, all we wanted to do was get married. And now we’ve brought a little rainbow to Latin America, it’s time for others to take up the banner as well and make us not the exception but the rule."
November 30, 2009 – The Advocate
Argentine Judge Halts Gay Marriage
by Advocate.com Editors
With just hours to go before Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello were to become the first same-sex couple in Latin America to tie the knot, a judge in Argentina has put a stop to the ceremony. Judge Marta Gomez Alsina, in the capital city, Buenos Aires, ruled Monday that the planned wedding will be suspended. The court website reads that she ordered the wedding blocked until the case could be reviewed by the supreme court.
Freyre and Di Bello were profiled in the Sunday edition of the U.K. newspaper The Guardian. The couple, who met three years ago at an HIV conference, were granted a marriage license November 16 and planned to be married tomorrow.
"This marriage is bigger than José María and I," Freyre told the paper. "It is a victory for all who face prejudice and discrimination across Latin America and the Caribbean. It is proof that at last the grip of the Catholic church is slipping across Latin America, the system that has kept gay communities silent and fearful is crumbling. What is happening on Tuesday is a strike against those attitudes that have repressed sexual rights across this continent for too long."
Read the full story here.
December 1, 2009 – Reuters
Argentine gay couple vows to reverse marriage ban
by Luis Andres Henao
Buenos Aires, (Reuters) – A gay Argentine couple vowed to keep fighting for the right to get married after a last-minute court ruling dashed their plans to hold Latin America’s first legal same-sex marriage on Tuesday. Alex Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, were granted a marriage license by a city judge two weeks ago. That ruling gave approval for the two men to wed in the capital despite a national policy defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
But a national judge on Monday ordered the suspension of the ceremony, which had been planned for Tuesday, saying that the city judge had no power to make the earlier ruling. The couple, dozens of friends, gay rights activists and curiosity seekers gathered at the civil registry office on Tuesday to protest the ban. "Our rights and everyone’s rights are being violated if the marriage can’t go forward," said Di Bello, carrying a bouquet of roses. He and Freyre, both HIV-positive, wore red sashes to mark World AIDS Day, which they had picked as the day to get married.
The Roman Catholic Church in Argentina had criticized the earlier judicial decision to let the couple marry and had urged authorities to reconsider. Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, considered a possible presidential candidate in 2011, refused to appeal the first court decision, arguing the time is right for the region’s first same-sex marriage. But on Tuesday gay rights activists said they were disappointed that the mayor’s office did not actively resist the second court ruling.
"The wedding’s been suspended but we’re appealing to the Supreme Court today so we can figure out which court ruling to follow," said Ivan Pavlovsky, spokesman for Macri. Maria Rachid, the couple’s lawyer, told Reuters that the ruling blocking the wedding was "illegitimate." "We’re going to ask for the annulment of the judge’s decision to suspend the wedding and going to sue her for abuse of power and for ruling against the law," Rachid added.
Argentina in 2002 became the first Latin American country to allow civil unions by same-sex couples. Civil unions in Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities grant same-sex couples some legal marital rights, but not others such as the right to adopt children. Elsewhere in Latin America, same-sex civil unions are allowed in Uruguay and Mexico City.
February 24, 2010 – PinkNews
Second gay couple in Argentina permitted to marry
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
An Argentinian judge has given a second gay couple permission to get married. Judge Elena Liberatori ruled that the unnamed men in Buenos Aires were exercising their rights, AFP reports.
In December, Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre became the first gay couple in Latin America to marry. They wed in Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego state where sympathetic state officials backed their bid. They wore red sashes around their suits to support HIV awareness and the ceremony was witnessed by state and federal officials.
The only place where gay marriage is legal in Latin America is Mexico City, although the law does not come into force until March.
May 6, 2010 – AP
Argentine House of Deputies approves gay marriage
Buenos Aires, Argentina(AP) — Gay marriage is a big step closer to becoming law in Argentina. The House of Deputies approved same-sex marriage by an ample margin Wednesday and sent the legislation for consideration in the Senate. President Cristina Fernandez has promised not to veto the measure if it reaches her desk.
Gay rights activist Esteban Paulon calls it historic — the first time a gay marriage initiative has been debated in a national legislature in Latin America.
Five gay and lesbian couples already have been married by Argentine judges who say the country’s constitution supports freedom of choice for couples. But other judges have overturned some of those marriages as illegal. The Roman Catholic Church strongly opposes the legislation.
July 11, 2010 – AFP
Catholic Church rallies against Argentina gay bill
Buenos Aires(AFP)— The Catholic Church in Argentina has stepped up its offensive against a gay marriage proposal, using Sunday Mass to urge its faithful to protest before Congress on the eve of a decisive Senate vote. The Latin American country, where 91 percent of the population says it is Catholic, could become the first nation in the region to pass a law legalizing marriage between same-sex couples if the Senate adopts the bill before it on Wednesday.
The measure, which would grant the same rights to homosexual couples as heterosexual ones, cleared a first hurdle on May 5 in the lower chamber, but the Senate is gearing for a tougher battle. During Sunday Mass, church officials read a message from Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio in which he urged the faithful to protest Tuesday in front of Congress.
The bishops of La Pampa, a central province, published a document in which they defended a family model "with a mom and a dad, naturally endowed with the remarkable wealth of fertility." Politicians are very divided on the subject and a Senate panel adopted an alternative project last week for civil unions that would bar gay couples from adopting, but the measure was not taken by the full chamber.
Argentines Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello were the first homosexuals to get married in Latin America, during a ceremony on December 28. Six other lesbian and gay couples did the same. But a legal battle soon followed. Judges tried to annul the gay marriages but the married couples have appealed the rulings every time, vowing to go all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
July 15, 2010 – The New York Times
Argentina Legalizes Gay Marriage
by The Associated Press
Buenos Aires, Argentina (AP) — Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples. After a marathon debate in Argentina’s senate, 33 lawmakers voted in favor, 27 against and 3 abstained in a vote that ended after 4 a.m. Since the lower house already approved it and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, it becomes law as soon as it is published in the official bulletin, which should happen within days.
The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have found Buenos Aires to be a welcoming place to live. But same-sex couples from other countries shouldn’t rush their Argentine wedding plans, since only citizens and residents can wed in the country, and the necessary documents can take months to obtain. While it makes some amendments to the civil code, many other aspects of family law will have to be changed. The approval came despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to march on Congress and urged parents in churches and schools to work against passage. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio led the campaign, saying ”children need to have the right to be raised and educated by a father and a mother.”
Nine gay couples had already married in Argentina after persuading judges that the constitutional mandate of equality supports their marriage rights, although their validity was later challenged by other judges. Congressional passage now removes that doubt. As the debate stretched on for nearly 16 hours, large crowds held rival vigils through the frigid night outside the Congress building. When the final vote came, cheers and hugs broke out among the bill’s supporters, with police keeping them separate from frustrated opponents who prayed and held rosaries. ”Marriage between a man and a woman has existed for centuries, and is essential for the perpetuation of the species,” insisted Sen. Juan Perez Alsina, who is usually a loyal supporter of the president but gave a passionate speech against gay marriage inside the Senate chamber.
But Sen. Norma Morandini, another member of the president’s party, compared the discrimination closeted gays face to the oppression imposed by Argentina’s dictators decades ago. ”What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance,” she said. Same-sex civil unions have been legalized in Uruguay and some states in Mexico and Brazil. Colombia’s Constitutional Court granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans. Mexico City went further, legalizing gay marriage and launching tourism campaigns to encourage foreigners to come and wed.
Argentina now becomes the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, granting gays and lesbians all the same rights and responsibilities that heterosexuals have. These include many more rights than civil unions, including adopting children and inheriting wealth. Gay rights advocates said Argentina’s historic step adds momentum to similar efforts around the world. ”Today’s historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values, and how far the freedom to marry movement has come, as twelve countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality,” said Evan Wolfson, who runs the U.S. Freedom to Marry lobby.
Wolfson urged U.S. lawmakers to stand up ”for the Constitution and all families here in the United States. America should lead, not lag, when it comes to treating everyone equally under the law.”
July 17, 2010 – AFP
First gay marriage in Argentina set for August 13
Buenos Aires (AFP) — Argentina’s first gay marriage under a law passed this week was set for August 13 between a 61-year-old man and his 60-year-old partner, officials said Friday. The first union was authorized by municipal officials in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires for actor Ernesto Rodriguez Larrese, 60, and Alejandro Vanelli, 61, who have lived together for 34 years. The couple had been denied a request to wed at the same location three years ago.
Argentina on Thursday became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, following a landmark Senate vote which stirred controversy in the majority Roman Catholic nation. The law was backed by the center-left government of President Cristina Kirchner and adopted in a 33-27 vote, with three abstentions, after 15 hours of debate. Maria Rachid, who heads the Argentine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Federation, said she expected around 100 same-sex couples to wed around the same date.
Mexico City authorities offered the first gay couple to wed in Argentina a free honeymoon trip to the Mexican capital and a major resort beach in the country, the city’s Tourism Secretary Alejandro Rojas said after the Senate voted in Buenos Aires.
July 22, 2010 – Time
International Gay Marriage
by Dan Fastenberg
On the evening of July 21, the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, convened a ceremony at the Casa Rosada government house in downtown Buenos Aires to formally sign into law a bill legalizing gay marriage. The measure, narrowly passed by the Argentine Congress on July 15, was no small leap for the land of the laconic gaucho, a place whose constitution required the head of the Argentine state to be Catholic until a 1994 reform. "In a few years, this debate will be absolutely anachronistic," said Kirchner to a room filled with activists chanting "Igualdad" (Equality). In signing the law, Kirchner made the South American country the 10th in the world — and the first in Latin America — to codify gay marriage.
Argentina’s breakthrough has already sent shock waves through the Americas. Several conservative magistrates in Argentina have said they would refuse to conduct same-sex marriages, even in the face of warnings from officials that such a move would be grounds for dismissal. In a sign of solidarity, the tourism board of Mexico City, where gay marriage has been legal since last year, has offered an all-expenses-paid vacation to the first wedded Argentine gay couple. (That marriage is scheduled to take place on Aug. 13 in the trendy Buenos Aires neighborhood of Palermo.) For a region in the thrall of progressive leadership, left-leaning legislators have even conceded in interviews with the local press that Argentina’s legalization of gay marriage could make their countries appear "conservative" by comparison. (See pictures of the gay-rights movement.)
The legalization draws on a rich history of international contributions to the gay-rights movement. When the modern concept of being gay began to take root in the 19th century, the lifestyle soon became the target of governments the world over, including Germany in the 1870s. The notorious Paragraph 175 of the German penal code criminalized sexual relations between men, but its draconian nature inspired first-of-their-kind gay-rights protests, literature and research institutes. And while the horrors of fascism wiped out any progress, the tactics used in Berlin, London and Paris through the 1920s became a blueprint for activism in the U.S. in the 1960s.
"Nobody was talking about gay marriage then," says Scott Gunther, a professor at Wellesley College and the author of The Elastic Closet. "They were not about assimilating or copying a model of heterosexual relationship but rather creating their own model. The global experience with AIDS, and the importance it placed on inheritance rights, helped change all that." Activists throughout the world look to the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall bar in New York City as the seminal moment in the modern struggle for gay rights, but experts say there should be little surprise that countries like Argentina are out ahead of the U.S. (five states and the District of Columbia have legalized marriage).
"Beyond the current power clash between the Kirchners and the church, this law fits exactly into a tradition of anticlerical republicanism," says Thomas Laqueur, a professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, referring to the Argentine President and her husband Néstor, a member of the Argentine legislature, who preceded her in office. "Latin American countries grew out of a rebellion against conservative Spanish clerical governments. This keeps coming up again and again. Something is always the new issue." (Watch a gay-marriage wedding video.)
The push to assert the supremacy of secular civil law over a religious authority that once held legal sway has also fueled the legalization of gay marriage in Portugal (2010) and Spain (2005). Both measures came at the behest of left-of-center governments looking to entrench civil authority in countries just three decades removed from Catholic dictatorships. "The aggressive action of the Catholic Church during the current debate [in Argentina] has only exacerbated a loathing that already exists within the population towards the Catholic hierarchy," said Marcelo Ernesto Ferreyra, the Latin America/Caribbean coordinator for the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), based in Buenos Aires, in an e-mail. He went on to highlight other moments when the church has lost prestige in Argentina, like during the debate in the 1980s over divorce, which was made legal in the country in 1987. (Watch a video of gay couples in Iowa.)
The passage of gay marriage around the world has also been facilitated by the traditions of the civil legal system, says Laqueur. Unlike the U.S. and Britain, which abide by the common-law system, nine of the 10 countries that have legalized gay marriage operate under the civil-law system. That tradition, which has its roots in the Roman Empire and places less emphasis on legal precedence, was the basis of the Napoleonic Code, created by the French leader to subvert the church. And in countries like Argentina that trace their tradition directly to Napoleon’s writ, civil marriages, even for heterosexuals, reign supreme. To this day, weddings in these countries administered by a religious authority have no legitimacy, and many people have two weddings, with a religious one accompanying the civil ceremony. "That history, along with the rise of something like birth control, is part of a tradition that says that marriage is for something other than just pure reproduction," says Laqueur. "Once you do that, you give away the store. So what’s wrong then with gay marriage?"
Nations That Have Legalized Gay Marriage
• The Netherlands (2000) • Spain (2005) • Canada (2005) • Belgium (2006) • South Africa (2006) • Norway (2008) • Sweden (2009) • Portugal (2010) • Iceland (2010) • Argentina (2010)
July 25, 2010 – LezGetReal
In Argentina, Tango Takes On A New Form With Gay Tango
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
There is no dance more Argentine than the tango. The mournful, melancholy dance of passion and tragedy has been part of Argentine and Uruguayan culture for well over a century, and now the dance is changing. Traditionally, the tango was strictly between a man and a woman, and it was intended that the man lead and the woman followed. Now, as a gay tango festival is opening in Argentina, that is changing. “Tango has to adapt, just like a language, and gay tango is enriching the language of tango,” Gustavo Aciar told Reuters. The forty-five year old opera pianist from Buenos Aires danced with his partner to the mournful music of the tango, halfway through the dance, he took the lead from his partner who had been leading up until that point.
At the weekend workshop, there were none of the normal women in high heels and men in suits normally associated with the dance. Kalervo Barker from Wales, UK, stated “gay tango takes tango to another level– the macho leader can become the sensual leader. Tango is so sensual and for me dancing with a man is more sensual when leading or following, there is a little flirting and I don’t want to flirt with a woman.” The majority of the participants in the weekend festival were men.
Later, the students went to the Academia Bien Porteno milonga, or tango dance hall. Thirty-eight year old Argentine economics researcher Laura discussed the fact that it is difficult for gay couples to visit mainstream milongas despite the liberal attitudes of Buenos Aires. She stated while taking a breather on the dancefloor “I would prefer for integration to be a reality, but it’s difficult for people from the community to enter more traditional milongas, so this festival is important.” Tourism, especially among lesbian and gay travelers, has been up in Argentina of late. The weekend mini-festival sought to take advantage of the influx of European tourists on summer vacation. The boom in tourism has brought about a rekindled interest in the tango which has been part of the culture of Argentina since it was first created in the immigrant neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.
Traditionally, the man leads and the woman follows, but it was not uncommon for the male dancers, or tangueros, to practice their dancing with each other. Festival organizer Augusto Balizano stated “What the books don’t say is that while some men did it for the practice, others did it because they loved it, and why shouldn’t I dance tango with the object of my desire?” Tango is not the only place where gays are making a splash in the dancing world. Steve Valentine and Robert Tristan are working on their own dance routines for the ballroom dancing competition in the 2010 Gay Games which will be held in Cologne, Germany beginning on 31 July. Like most dance pairs, the two are not a couple.
Same-sex dancing has its own issues, including things like who will lead and who will follow. Traditionally, those were decided upon long before someone took up ballroom dancing. It is not uncommon for same-sex dance partners to switch off in mid dance. Both men agree that it can be a bit daunting to watch dancing between same-sex couples. Tristan stated “The first 10 minutes is strange, but after that, you just watch the dancing,” There is, of course, always sexual tension in a dance, even in dance couples who are not dating or married. Valentine stated “On the dance floor, it’s like making love. We work with each other’s bodies continuously.”
The two are hoping to win big at the Gay Games. According to the LA Times, the couple has won the “Northern California’s April Follies and La Fiesta de Montréal, the Canadian national same-sex ballroom championship, in May”
August 2010- The Age
Argentina first gay marriage
An actor and his agent have become the first gay couple to marry in Buenos Aires.
Click here for video
August 24, 2010 – The New York Times
Q&A: Gay-Friendly Spots in Buenos Aires
by Rusha Haljuci
My boyfriend and I plan to take a two-week wedding trip to Argentina around Thanksgiving. We’d like to spend part of the time in Buenos Aires, with a side trip or two. And we’d enjoy some time at a nice beach. Any recommendations for some gay-friendly destinations?
Zach Patton, Washington
Buenos Aires is a sprawling city with 48 barrios, so you’ll want to concentrate on a handful of neighborhoods. It’s best to get around on foot, or by metro or taxi.
According to Frommer’s (the online content partner of the Times’s Travel section), Buenos Aires has become “a major Latin American gay-tourism mecca.” You can find listings of gay and gay-friendly venues at G-Maps and at the Buenos Aires Gay Travel Guide.
Consider staying at the Axel Hotel, which welcomes a gay clientele in the bohemian neighborhood of San Telmo. This is one of the city’s oldest barrios, with cobblestone streets, boutiques, 19th-century buildings and some of the best tango halls in the city.
Take a walk along the pedestrian Calle Florida in Microcentro, the city’s core, and enjoy the sidewalk shows in the evening. Next, visit the Plaza de Mayo area, the historical and political center, where you’ll find the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace) with Eva Perón’s famous balcony. Later, dine at the friendly Inside Resto-Bar (Bartolomé Mitre Street 1571; 54-11-4372-5439), with tango shows (and several stripper shows). In Palermo, the city’s largest district, visit the 400-acre Parque Tres de Febrero (known as Los Bosques de Palermo), where residents picnic, sunbathe, bicycle and jog, and stroll through El Rosedal, a romantic rose garden, and along the park’s lake, where you can rent a boat. Don’t miss Malba, the Latin American contemporary art museum, then head to Sitges (Av. Cordoba 4119), a large, popular gay bar that features drag shows on weekends.
Cafes are plentiful in Recoleta, an exclusive shopping and residential neighborhood. Here, you can visit La Recoleta Cemetery, where some of the city’s wealthiest and best-known citizens, including Eva Perón, are buried. Take a break at Milión (Paraná 1048; 54-11-4815-9925), an elegant, gay-friendly bar that occupies three floors of a renovated old mansion.
Frommer’s recommends several side trips, including the Tigre Delta (about an hour north), “a beautiful complex of islands and marshland full of small bed-and-breakfasts, resorts and adventure trails.” Another option is San Antonio de Areco (about two hours north), a great place to experience Argentina’s gaucho culture. Or take a ferry (one hour high-speed or two-and-a-half-hour ferry) across Río de la Plata, to Colonia, in Uruguay, a small and romantic colonial town (and Unesco World Heritage site) with cobblestone streets, museums, galleries and antiques shops. It may not be warm enough for the beach in November (spring in Argentina) but at Mar del Plata, a popular seaside resort about five hours south of Buenos Aires, you can enjoy the colonial architecture, parks, gardens and night life at any time of the year.
September 05, 2010 – OnTop Magazine
Over 100 Gay Couples Marry In Argentina
by On Top Magazine Staff
Over 100 gay and lesbian couples have married in the first 30 days since Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. Architect Juan Carlos Navarro, 54, and Miguel Angel Calefato, 65, inaugurated the law on Friday, July 30 in provincial Santiago del Estero. The Navarro-Calefato wedding made history after it leapfrogged ahead of another couple, Alejandro Vanelli and Ernesto Larresse, who married two hours later in Buenos Aires. Navarro said the couple was not driven by being first, but the desire to be legally married.
Seventy-two male couples and thirty-one female couples have also tied the knot during the law’s first 30 days. Officials say they have received over 300 applications from gay couples looking to adopt a child. The average age of men marrying was 57 and couples had been living together at least ten years. Many said they decided to marry because one of the partners was ill.
Buenos Aires, the nation’s largest city, has scheduled 38 weddings for September. Other couples said they would wait to marry until after the media frenzy dies down.
October 18, 2010 – operamundi
(Portuguese to English translation)
Documentary portrays the drama of gay Jews in Argentina
by Luciana Taddeo, Buenos Aires
Gustavo studied at a Jewish school and did a bar mitzvah. His parents expected him to continue the steps as religion requires. But it never happened. One day his mother found his love letters to another man and went into depression. Friends also did not accept his homosexuality and he walked away from the community.
The life story of Gustav is the common thread between the documentary ‘Otro Otros’, director Maximilano Pelosi. This is not an isolated case in Argentina which has the largest Jewish community in Latin America, about 250 000 people. It is estimated that 6-8% are homosexual. The documentary, which premiered in Argentina just before the approval of civil unions between same sex, portrays the conflict between religious Jews and homosexuality in the country
November 8, 2010 – PinkNews
Thousands join Argentina’s gay Pride march
by PinkNews.co.uk Staff Writer
Thousands of people joined Argentina’s annual gay Pride march on Saturday in Buenos Aires. Marchers celebrated new laws which made the country the first in Latin America to recognise same-sex marriage. More than 500 couples have wed since the law came into power on July 21st, gay campaigners said.
The colourful march’s focus was to demand new rights for transgender people, in particular, the right of individuals to change their gender on identity cards and birth certificates. Pablo De Luca, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Aires, said that the new legislation had increased gay tourism. Estimating that 100,000 more gay travellers have visited the country, he said: “It’s the same kind of increase that happened in South Africa, Canada, and Madrid after they legalised gay marriage. We want to travel to a country where we don’t feel like we have to hide our sexuality.”
November 2010 – IGLTA Travel Deals
Buenos Aires Chronicles of a Gay Traveler
by Carlos Melia (website & blog)
I awake early after a fun night out and hit the streets from my short-term rental apartment dizzy and disoriented in search of a big cup of coffee. I see the familiar green logo with the “S” and I wonder where I am, London, Paris, New York, Madrid.? A strong ‘porteño’ accent full of melancholy hits me. I’m in Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires is a city that boasts European heritage from its people, architecture and culture. It has a late and upcoming North American influence, increased by the great number of expats moving in. Despite this, it remains true to its South American flavor and traditions, mixing in a perfect balance with the characteristic drama and snobbism of the ‘porteños’ (Buenos Aires born locals). It’s a unique and lovable destination that will make you want to come back again and again.
Awarded by a rolling and informal word of mouth, its title as the Gay Mecca of South America gives Buenos Aires an open-minded and friendly attitude towards gay travelers. It welcomes foreigners with open arms, regardless of sexual orientation, making them feel comfortable and accepted. Not for nothing, Argentina was the second countyr in Latin America to approve the Same Sex Civil Unions, and last July 2010, the Same Sex Marriage Law was passed and approved in mayority. Buenos Aires, leans towards an accepting and mixed environment, far from the old ghetto cliché. It’s for this reason that most of the gay venues have turned straight-friendly or mixed. The straight venues desperately seek and welcome the charisma, glamour and disposable income of gays. The city is enormous, therefore I took the great advice from one of my many friends who has been to Buenos Aires before, (those that play travel agents by their own tragic experiences, which in fact saves us money and time) to take a city tour while I am still jet-lagged. It’s a great way to discover the urban jungle, following the chronicles and pace of the city. It gives me a better understanding of my hometown and allows me to identify the areas I want to see more of while I’m here.
La Boca, originally a lower-middle- class settlement that hosted ships docking from Europe, is an itinerant street academy of tango. It is home to the national sport “futbol” and “la bombonera”, the Boca Juniors stadium (the most important soccer team in Argentina). San Telmo is an aristocratic and vibrant commercial enclave that hosts a famous antique market every Sunday. It’s generally but not officially considered to be the gay neighborhood of Buenos Aires, with the Axel Hotel and Pride Cafe being its best examples. Plaza de Mayo and La Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace) is where you’ll find the “Madres de Plaza de Mayo” mothers (of the ‘disappeared’) against the military regime, with their characteristic white handkerchiefs, now printed on the pavement of the square. The Plaza faces the balcony of La Casa Rosada where Evita pronounced her iconic speech.
Downtown is the main business and financial district, sectioned off by 9 de Julio Avenue. It’s on this Avenue that you find the famous Obelisco and the recently opened and fully refurbished Colon Theater, a must see and visit attraction of the city.
Puerto Madero is the city’s most recent real estate development, with the Calatrava’s pedestrian bridge (“The Bridge of the Woman”) crossing the river, inspired by a couple dancing tango. The area is home to the best tango show and dinner in town at Rojo Tango. Also in this area you will find the Ecological Reserve. Retiro, (a.k.a. Retire) is the main train station allowing suburbanites to commute back and forth. Here you will find the Falkland Island’s ‘ Malvinas’ Mausoleum, the Monumental Tower and San Martin Square. After an hour and a half of a very busy itinerary it’s time for a cool and relaxing lunch. I find the perfect place at El Claustro Santa Catalina. A beautiful bistro located inside the convent of Santa Catalina, founded in 1745. It’s a true gem in the middle of the city porteña.
After indulging myself with Volta ice-cream and Alfajores (cookies stuffed with dulce de leche) I’m back on track. I burn all those calories by walking for the next hour and a half in the neighborhoods of Recoleta, visiting the Cemetery where everyone flocks to see Evita’s resting place. Your mouth will drop at the lavish and unique design of the place; it is a sight to behold and is not to be missed. From here it’s a short walk to the Design District and Figueroa Alcorta Avenue where you find the Flower (“Floralis Generica”) by Eduardo Catalano at Naciones Unidas Square. This is one of Bueons Aires’ classic contemporary landmarks.
A little further on, I step into the lungs of the city: the Palermo Parks, where I take a quick tanning nap by the Rose Gardens and the lakes. I move on to the Planetarium and the Japanese Gardens before visiting the Horse Racing Tracks and Polo Fields. Close by is the King Fahd Mosque, the biggest in South America. After a long day out and about in this amazing city, I decide to check out the gourmet areas of Palermo, SOHO and Hollywood. I treat myself to a nice dinner and a bottle of Malbec and Torrontes. There are many options like Minga, SUCRE, Casa Cruz, MOTT, Standard, and Osaka, but I decide to try a new restaurant called TEGUI.
When the lights go out, (which in Buenos Aires happens after 2 AM) I venture into the gay nightlife of Buenos Aires with information provided by local friends I met at EGO Bar, taking me on a stylish fasttrack of this diverse and energetic city, which stands out from the rest of South America not only for its venues and music but for its attractive and alternative crowd. Human Club, Rheo by Crobar, Amerika, Glam, Club One are just some of the options available. This has been the chronicle of my first full day in Buenos Aires, and I can’t wait to see the rest of it. I’m off to bed now since tomorrow I have brunch at OLSEN Restaurant and then, the Delta of El Tigre, in the suburbs, along with many other alternatives planned such as San Antonio de Areco, to experience the real Gaucho folk style, Villa Maria Estancia on a trip back to the Belle Epoque of Buenos Aires…. I will have to tell you about this some other time or you could just experience it on your own!.
08 November 2010 – MSM Golbal Forum
Argentine gay pride parade celebrates 500 same-sex marriages, goes for transgender rights
by Armando Montano
Burnos Aires, Argentina — Thousands marched in Argentina’s Gay Pride parade on Saturday, celebrating the country’s status as the first in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage and vowing to campaign for new rights for transgender people.
More than 500 same-sex couples have been married since President Cristina Fernandez signed the law on July 21, said Esteban Paulo, President of the Argentine Lesbians, Gay, Bi, and Transgender Federation. The gay marriage law has been a boon for tourism, said Pablo De Luca, founder of the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in Buenos Aires. He estimates that 100,000 more gays and lesbians have visited Argentina as a result of the law.
"It’s the same kind of increase that happened in South Africa, Canada, and Madrid after they legalized gay marriage," De Luca said. "We want to travel to a country where we don’t feel like we have to hide our sexuality."
Full text of article available at here
November 14, 2010 – ILGA
(Spanish to English translation)
LGBT Pride held in Several provinces
After Pride multitudianaria held in Buenos Aires, several provinces had local versions this week, culminating on Saturday in San Juan Cordoba and Neuquen with great call, welcoming the adoption of equal marriage and the need for a Gender Identity Act for transvestites, transsexuals and transgenders.
On Monday 8, in the City of La Plata (Buenos Aires), and convened by ATTTA (Association Transvestites, Transsexuals, Transgender Argentina) and human groups, a hundred people marched in the rain from the Plaza to the governorate Moreno Buenos Aires Province, to deliver a document that sought better care in health, work, inclusion in public policies and the enactment of the Law on Gender Identity.
Claudia Pia Baudracco, ATTTA benchmark reported that "the province of Buenos Aires in the hands of the criminalization imposes Scioli and violations of human rights of LGBT anyone. " He added that "this is not just a festive day for the province of Buenos Aires, but a day of claim. "
November 15, 2010 – ILGA
(Spanish to English translation)
A new draft law in Argentina is submitted on gender identity
The CHA and other sexual diversity presented to the Congress a project that includes various rights of trans people, including the name change without going through the Justice and is no longer considered a pathology.
The demand for the rights of trans people is strengthened by Congress. Three projects (referring gender identity and health care) to await their turn to be treated in committee, joined a new initiative, in which the Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA), the Association for the Struggle for Transvestite Identity and Transgender (Alitt), Nadia Cooperative Echazu nondiscrimination Discrimination Movement (MAL) and Future transgendered summarize the needs of the trans community. After getting the signatures of ten deputies and deputies of different blocks, the text did parliamentary status.
Although known as Gender Identity, the project refers to a broad set of rights and claims ranging from the decision on change of registration data to the solution of situations related to the health of trans people in various stages of their lives, even looking at the childhoods of intersex people.
December 2, 2010 – sentidog.com
An analysis of the Gender Identity Project
by Gustavo Diaz Fernandez
(Translated from Portuguese) – Crisalida analyzes the Gender Identity Project
There are now four bills that seek to guarantee the rights of gender expressions and identities trans. Two of these projects remain in line with the pathologizing of trans identities, though without saying so explicitly. Furthermore, the draft Argentina Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (FALGBT) is simpler, but remains trapped in the binomial heteronormative, and hidden the identities trans.
Real breakthrough is in the final draft submitted, the written by dr. Emiliano Litardo Legal Area Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA) with input from various organizations including ALITT, which foresees an identification while recognizing identities and gender expressions in their articles guaranteeing greater rights. Following an analysis by vegan abogadxs Mariana Alvarez and Agustin Martinez, LGBT NGO professionals Tucumán chrysalis.
Read full story.