Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Argentina: And the first lesbians to marry are...

The Santiago Times, based in Chile, has saved me the job of translating Spanish-language reports of the first ever marriage by two lesbians in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  From their April 12 article:
Two women that were exiled during the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976/1983) were married Friday in Buenos Aires, the first wedding among lesbians in the country, reported the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Federation of Argentina, or FALGBT.

Norma Castillo, from Uruguay, and Ramona Arevalo, Argentine, were married by Judge Elena Liberatori after having requested legal protection within the framework of the campaign “Same right, same names,” which the LGBT Argentine Federation has been carrying out for several months. They are both 67 years old and have been a couple for over 30 years.

“They asked for legal protection because they love each other and wanted their family to be recognized by the State,” said the Federation in an official release.

The two women are activists of organizations belonging to the Federation and theirs was the third homosexual marriage in Argentina. Norma is the head of the pensioners' center Open Door to Diversity, an organization which fights for the gay-lesbian rights.
While Buenos Aires enjoys the title of being the first city in any Spanish-speaking American country to adopt a same-sex civil union law back in 2003, none of Argentina's provinces nor the country has adopted a marriage equality law. The honor of adopting the first marriage equality law among countries in the hemisphere south of the United States goes to Mexico City, which saw its first marriages between same-sex couples on March 11th.

But marriage equality activists in Argentina have been in a prolonged legislative and judicial battle to have their country recognize their right to marry and, with a combination of luck, positive local court decisions and amicable civil court judges, they have actually managed to claim the title of the first same-sex marriage in the region.

That honor went to Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello who married in Tierra del Fuego on December 28, 2009 (photo).

A second couple, Damian Bernath and Jorge Esteban Salazar Capon, were granted the right to marry in a Buenos Aires court on February 23rd (photo).

And, on April 5th, a third couple, Martin Canevaro and Carlos Alvarez (right) received a go ahead as well.

In the case of Bernath and Salazar Capon, their wedding was annulled by a Buenos Aires judge.

In addition, there have been a couple of related stories about the lack of recognition in Argentina of same-sex marriages performed in other countries.

Cesar Cigliutti and Marcelo Suntheim, who happen to be the first couple to be granted civil marriage rights back in 2003 and are also the directors of the Argentinean Homosexual Community (CHA), one of the largest LGBT rights organizations on the country, got married in Spain in 2008 but were denied the right to get their marriage recognized back home.

At the same time, Diana Cordero, who is from Argentina, and her Spaniard partner C.P., are not only fighting for Argentina to recognize their 2008 Canadian marriage but also trying to keep Argentina from deporting C.P. back to Spain (photo).

Anyway, this makes Norma Castillo and Ramona Arevalo's marriage the third same-sex marriage in Argentina and the first between lesbians.  If their name sounds familiar it's because I have featured them before on this blog.

Last year, they were profiled by Argentinian newspaper La Nacion for their role in the launch of the first retirement home center for elderly gays and lesbians in Latin America.  At the time, I posted a YouTube video interview with them on which I added English-language subtitles.  I am re-posting it again tonight.

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