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  HOME | Argentina

Argentine Judge Overturns Ruling Allowing Gay Marriage

BUENOS AIRES – An Argentine judge declared null and void a court ruling allowing two men in Buenos Aires to get married in what would have been the first wedding of a same-sex couple in Latin America.

The ruling was handed down by Judge Marta Gomez Alsina, acting on a motion from attorney Francisco Roggero, judicial officials said.

The attorney asked for the annulment of the Nov. 12 decision by municipal Judge Gabriela Seijas, who declared “unconstitutional” the legal impediment to people of the same sex marrying, a ruling that was not appealed by the conservative mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri.

Maria Rachid, head of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transvestites, told Efe that they still have not been notified of the ruling by Gomez Alsina, but said that the attorneys of her group maintain that only the Supreme Court can annul the Seijas decision.

“A judge cannot annul the ruling of a colleague of another jurisdiction,” she said.

Rachid said that the Civil Registry “has the duty” to marry Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre, a wedding that will have as one of its best men the UNAIDS envoy to Latin America and the Caribbean, the Spaniard Pedro Zerolo.

“We will keep preparing for the wedding and, if it can’t be done tomorrow, we’ll have a press conference with all the witnesses of the marriage, who as is well known are politicians and officials from social and cultural organizations,” she said.

In a statement on the Web site of the daily La Nacion, Di Bello said that “nothing and no one” will stop his marriage to Freyre.

“There have been rumors of pleas for an annulment and if some judge allows it, the only thing it will achieve is to delay the wedding, but it will not cancel it,” he said.

Pablo Tonelli, the Buenos Aires city attorney, said, for his part, that “just as the city complied with the resolution of judge Seijas, now it will comply with the ruling not to allow the couple to marry.”

Freyre, 39, and Di Bello, 41, planned to get married this Tuesday, when World AIDS Day will be celebrated, a condition both suffer.

The decision by the mayor of Buenos Aires not to appeal the ruling of Judge Seijas sparked fierce criticism from the Catholic Church and its allies, who accused Macri of failing to do his duty in defending the city’s ordinances.

The Seijas ruling came at a time when the debate on a bill allowing gay marriage was bogged down in the Argentine Congress.

At present same-sex couples can only obtain a civil union in four cities of Argentina.

The Civil Union Law in the city of Buenos Aires, approved at the end of 2002, was the first such statute in the country and the first acceptance of same-sex couples in Latin America. EFE

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