Same Sex couple marry in Argentina

4 Jan 2010

Two Argentinian men have been joined in South America's first same-sex marriage, travelling to the southernmost tip of the Americas to find a welcoming spot to wed.

Gay rights activists Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre were married in Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego state, exchanging rings at civil ceremony witnessed by state and federal officials.

"My knees didn't stop shaking," said the 41-year-old Mr Di Bello. "We are the first gay couple in Latin America to marry."

The slim, dark-haired couple previously tried to marry in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires but were thwarted by city officials citing conflicting judicial rulings.

Argentina's constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to provincial officials.

This time around, they travelled to the southernmost city in the world, at the tip of South America, closer to Antarctica than Buenos Aires. The ceremony took place during the region's brief summer thaw.

Tierra del Fuego Governor Fabiana Rios said in a statement that gay marriage "is an important advance in human rights and social inclusion and we are very happy that this has happened in our state".

An official representing the federal government's antidiscrimination agency, Claudio Morgado, attended the wedding, calling it "historic".

Many in Argentina and throughout Latin America remain opposed to gay marriage, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. Same-sex civil unions have been legalised in Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and some states in Mexico and Brazil, but marriage generally carries more rights.


Article published by the Press Association