Gay couple hopes wedding sets precedent in Argentina

Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:18pm EST
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By Luis Andres Henao

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Two Argentine men who will soon wed in Latin America's first legal same-sex marriage hope it will pave the way for other homosexual couples in Argentina to marry.

Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello were granted a marriage license last week by a judge who overruled a ban on gay marriages in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, arguing it was unconstitutional.

The couple are HIV positive and plan to marry on December 1 on World Aids Day.

"We're very happy, but also very nervous because we feel an enormous responsibility," Freyre told Reuters on Tuesday night. "It's a historic accomplishment that recognizes gay rights and opens a judicial way to remove barriers."

Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow civil unions by same-sex couples in 2002.

Civil unions in Buenos Aires and several other Argentine cities grant same-sex couples some legal marital rights, but not others such as the right to adopt. Elsewhere in Latin America, same-sex civil unions are allowed in Uruguay and Mexico City.

Freyre and Di Bello previously tried to marry in April, but were turned down by a separate judge. The new judicial ruling applies only to their case, but it will likely increase pressure on lawmakers to debate a gay marriage bill now deadlocked in Congress.

Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri has said he does not plan to challenge the ruling.   Continued...