BUENOS AIRES – President Cristina Fernandez signed into law a bill authorizing same-sex marriage, a measure she said will make Argentine society “more egalitarian.”
“Nothing was taken from anyone; rights were given to those who didn’t have them,” she said during a ceremony at the presidential palace attended by officials, leaders of gay and lesbian organizations and cultural figures who supported the initiative.
The bill passed the Argentine Senate last Thursday after a sometimes heated debate that lasted 15 hours.
Though some Latin American municipalities allow same-sex marriage or civil union, Argentina is the first nation in the region to establish such a right.
“Today we are a more egalitarian society than last week,” Fernandez said. “These questions have to do with the human condition, with the aspiration to equality: they are things that cannot divide us, but rather unite.”
The president’s husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, called the law’s enactment historic and said opposition to the measure “will steadily disappear.”
Argentina’s Catholic hierarchy was joined by conservative politicians and organizations in a bitter campaign against the proposal to legalize same-sex marriage, while some justices of the peace say they will refuse to perform weddings for gay and lesbian couples. EFE