Friday, July 16, 2010

Gay rights activists celebrate Argentine vote for same-sex marriage

Washington Post
July 16, 2010

It was 4:05 a.m. and frigid outside the Congress building in Buenos Aires as Argentine lawmakers voted Thursday to legalize same-sex marriage, but Marcelo Marquez was still there. He had waited through 14 hours of debate for the moment that would make his country the first in overwhelmingly Catholic Latin America to grant gay couples the same rights as heterosexual ones.

"For me, it was incredible," said Marquez, 41, a philosophy teacher who now plans to marry his partner, Mariano Tissone, 37. "Everyone exploded -- screaming, dancing, hugging, some singing the national anthem."

The Senate voted 33 to 27 in favor of the bill, which the lower house had approved in May with strong backing from President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The vote -- which also made Argentina the second country in the Americas, after Canada, to approve marriage for gay men and lesbians -- prompted thousands of supporters to whoop in the streets and shout, "We made history!"