Sunday, July 20, 2014

Esteban Paulón gets married to Pablo Cirlini

In the four years since Argentina became the first Latin American country to pass a marriage equality law 9,362 same-sex couples have decided to get hitched according to the latest numbers released last week.

The law would not have become a reality without the years of patient and expert lobby work of the Argentine LGBT Federation (FALGBT) and this week the agency decided to mark the anniversary by accompanying a Russian lesbian couple as they received their marriage license (same-sex couples can get married in Argentina regardless of immigration status or nationality).

Marina Mironova and Oxana Tamofeeba are seeking political asylum in the South American country and news of their wedding came on the same week that Russian president Vladimir Putin arrived in the country to visit Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Putin has been pillared as of late for his lack of action and outright defense of several so-called "anti gay-propaganda" laws that have flowered in Russia under his watch and as the relationship between Russia and the United States has increasingly deteriorated he has looked to left-wing governments in Latin America for support.

Last week alone he touched ground in Cuba, Nicaragua, Brazil and Argentina and met their respective presidents Raúl Castro, Daniel Ortega, Dilma Rouseff and Cristina de Kirchner and also connected with Evo Morales of Bolivia, Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and Fidel Castro as well.  None challenged him on Russia's homophobic policies at least publicly.

In the meantime a more personal story was taking place behind the scenes.

Four years ago Esteban Paulón was single 32 years of age and fighting for marriage equality with the FALGBT as a volunteer. Yesterday at 36 and as president of the organization he married the love of his life Pablo Cirlini.

As Argentine Senator Rubén Giustiniani put it yesterday on Twitter "When we passed the marriage equality law one of its principal advocates used to say 'I don't even have a partner!', today Esteban Paulón gets married. Congratulations!"
In the days before the wedding the couple made the usual arrangements and applied for a marriage license. To their surprise - four years after Argentina passed their marriage equality law - the marriage license application they were given at the Santa Fe notary still listed spaces where a "husband" and a "wife" could sign the document.

Esteban took to Twitter to say that it was a little shameful that the local civil marriage bureaus had yet to update their forms but said that having to sign the document as a "wife" was not going to keep the couple from getting married.

Others shared similar stories: @alejodip also said that when he and his partner applied for a marriage license in Santa Fe he also had to write his name in a line where the word "Ms." had been penciled out and the word "Mr." had been penciled in.

The Santa Fe government took no time to apologize to the couple on Twitter and vowed to work with the FALGBT to modernize documents in the near future.

At the end of the day all three couples are legally married, Congratulations to all three couples.

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