Friday, July 16, 2010

Argentina Approves Marriage Equality

Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage, in defiance of those who seem to be mixing up democracy with theocracy:

After nearly 15 hours of debate, the Senate voted 33 to 27 in favor of the measure, which was sponsored by the government of President Cristina Fern├índez de Kirchner. For weeks, she waged a bitter war of words with the Roman Catholic Church over the issue, saying that it would be a “terrible distortion of democracy” to deny gay couples the right to wed and that it was time for religious leaders to recognize how much more liberal and less discriminatory the nation’s social mores had become.

In its race to derail the change, the church organized large protests involving tens of thousands of opponents of the measure, with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, calling the bill a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”

Argentina has become part of a positive trend in Latin America:

Argentina’s new law will give gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals, including adoption and inheritance rights, and reflects the broadening legal recognition of same-sex relationships across Latin America.

Last year, Mexico City became the first jurisdiction in the region to legalize gay marriages. The conservative federal government has challenged that move in the Supreme Court, but weddings have continued and the city has married more than 270 couples.

Three other countries in the region — Uruguay, Colombia and Ecuador — have recognized civil unions for same-sex couples in recent years, as have various cities and states.

Now it's time for the United States to respect the Constitution's equal protection clause by making gay marriage the law of the land. Recently, a U.S. judge in Boston ruled that a federal gay marriage ban is unconstitutional according to that clause.

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