I first had an inkling that something was afoot through Twitter as the ceremony in Tierra del Fuego and the Governor's decision were kept closely under wraps. The development, which surprised even those of us who were keeping an eye on the issue as it relates to Argentina, does not mean that other gay couples automatically will be granted the right to marry.
Two Argentine men on [Monday] became the first homosexuals to legally marry in Latin America, after the governor of the country's southernmost Tierra del Fuego province permitted their wedding... Although the Argentine civil code does not recognize same sex marriages, a court had approved the wedding of Alex Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, before it was challenged pending the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal.... Tierra del Fuego Governor Fabiana Rios authorized [Monday]'s wedding after a civil registrar had refused to officiate earlier this month... The Argentine capital became Latin America's first city to approve civil unions in 2002. Buenos Aires grants gay couples some, but not all rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
Freyre and Di Bello had been scheduled to marry in Buenos Aires on December 1st until the marriage was stopped by local authorities. Since then, dozens of gay couples throughout Argentina have registered at local marriage bureaus in protest. Conceivably, each court would have to determine whether they will grant each couple a marriage license.
Most probably the issue will be ultimately resolved by the Argentinian Constitutional Court which has announced that it will rule on the constitutionality of marriage rights for same-sex couples in 2010.
The one thing they will not be able to take away from Freyre and Di Bello, in what had become - in some ways - a race to the finish, is their claim to being the first gay couple to be granted marriage rights in all of Latin America.
Related: The provincial government of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina has provided Rex Wockner some great photos of the marriage ceremony. Click on the link below to see them.
- Photos from the bottom of the world (Wockner)