Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage
Amnesty International has welcomed Argentina's landmark decision on Thursday to become the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.Argentina's senate passed the law - which will also pave the way for same-sex couples to be able to adopt - by 33 votes to 27 with three abstentions, at the end of a 14-hour debate.The legislation had already been approved by Argentina's Chamber of Deputies in May. It now awaits enactment by President Cristina Kirchner."This is a landmark step in the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Argentina to equality," said Louise Finer of Amnesty International."Now it's up to the rest of the countries in Latin America to follow suit."Earlier in the week, Catholic officials across Argentina, where more than 90 per cent of the population are members of the church, read a message from Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio opposing the bill.The approval of the law has come as a result of sustained campaigning by the LGBT movement in Argentina since 2005.Same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico City, while same-sex civil unions are legal in Mexico, Uruguay and some states in Brazil.Last December, a same-sex couple succeeded in exchanging wedding vows in the province of Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina.Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello got married after a judge prevented the ceremony from taking place in the Buenos Aires.There have now been nine same sex marriages carried out in Argentina. Each case has depended on individual interpretations of the existing law being carried out by judges and provincial authorities."The modification of Argentina’s Civil Code to allow same-sex marriage is one of many steps that need to be taken to put an end to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the country."