Same-sex couples in Argentina rejoiced as the country became the first in all of Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. The country will now begin to process the long list of same-sex marriage applications on the national registry, beginning with the first ceremony set in Buenos Aires in August.
Despite strong opposition and protests against the same-sex marriage law from the Roman Catholic Church and Catholic religious groups, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez signed the bill into law in July 2010.
According to an Argentine news agency, Fernandez was quoted as saying that the same-sex marriage law was a "positive step that defends minority rights." Supporters of the law chanted "equality, equality" as Fernandez signed the landmark bill.
Argentine polls show that despite the opposition from the Catholic Church and other religious entities, public opinion generally supports the gay-marriage law, according to Reuters.
In Argentina same-sex couples are now on equal ground with straight couples. The benefits of legalized marriage include:
- Adoption rights
- Property rights
- Hospital-visitation rights
Elsewhere in the Region
In Mexico City, gay marriage is legal, but not in other Mexican cities. In a show of support of gay rights, the tourism secretary of Mexico City offered Argentina's first same-sex married couple a free honeymoon to Mexico City.
And Uruguay has legalized the right of gay couples to adopt children, but not to marry.
Same-Sex Marriage in the United States
In 1996, the federal government passed a law prohibiting the legal recognition of same-sex marriage and allowing states to follow suit. The act, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), compelled more than 40 states to add similar language to their own laws. Compared to Canada, Sweden, Portugal and the Netherlands, the U.S. federal prohibition is in stark contrast to these countries' outright legalization of gay marriage.
While the U.S. federal government and most states refuse to recognize same-sex marriage, five states opted to legalize the same-sex marriage union.
The five U.S. states that allow same-sex couples to marry are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.
New York and Massachusetts recognize same-sex marriages that were legally entered into in other jurisdictions, but same-sex marriage cannot legally be performed in these two states.
Gay couples in Connecticut won the right to marry in a 2008 Connecticut Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court overturned the state law prohibiting same-sex marriages because the ban unfairly discriminated against same-sex couples.
If you have questions about Connecticut's same-sex marriage laws, contact an experienced family law attorney.