Sunday, August 09, 2009

Argentina: Attorney General files Supreme Court brief in support of same-sex couples

Imagine United States Attorney General Eric Holder submitting a brief to the Supreme Court in favor of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples...

Argentina's Attorney General, Esteban Righi (right), has filed a lengthy brief with the country's Supreme Court in which he argues that government should not ignore the realities of gay life, and asks Justices to call upon the legislative branch to "clarify" ways in which same-sex couples can attain the same rights as married heterosexual partners.

The brief was filed in response to a pending court case challenging the constitutionality of Argentina's marriage laws on the basis that they discriminate against same-sex couples.

From yesterday's Página/12:
In February 2007, María Rachid and Claudia Castro wanted to marry just as any heterosexual couple might, but the same civil court who had granted them a civil union years before, had to refuse. "I would love to but I can't. The law doesn't allow me", she explained, so the women turned the frustrated [attempt at] marriage into a claim of unconstitutionality against that law, considering it discriminatory. In mid-2007, Judge María Bacigalupo found that the denial had been most correct, which prompted another judicial claim by Rachid and Castro, this time before the Court of Appeals, which also rejected the claim. In this way, it reached the Supreme Court. Righi's statement is a response to this claim.
The claimants seemed surprised about the brief and expressed limited support to Página/12:
We think that it's favorable because there is an acknowledgement that the State has a debt with same-sex partnerships when rights are concerned, and that this debt should be paid. But, although it seems positive to us, I think that it's not the fairest thing. We believe that the fact we cannot get married makes the law unconstitutional. Our lead objective, really, was that, but - in any case - we thought that this other point of view was possible, which - I repeat - we consider to be very positive.
The latest developments follow years in a strategic divide between LGBT rights advocates in Argentina, with some arguing that it's better to fight for a national civil union bill, rather than equal access to 'marriage' rights.

The confounding fact about the Attorney General's brief is that it's uncertain whether it's meant to bolster the rights of lesbian and gay couples or, on the other hand, if it's meant to push the Supreme Court to punt the ball to the legislative body.

Nevertheless, it is certainly a surprising development and I have a feeling it bodes well for same-sex partners in Argentina.

1 comment:

Ron Buckmire said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this case!