Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Argentina: Court authorizes the 2nd same-sex marriage in all of Latin America

A Buenos Aires court has given a gay Argentinean couple the green light to get married in what would be the second such marriage to occur in all of Latin America. From an AFP news brief posted this evening:

A judge on Tuesday authorized two men to marry in Buenos Aires in what would be the country's second same-sex marriage.

In December, two Argentine men, Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Bello, became the first homosexuals to legally marry in heavily Roman Catholic Latin America, after the governor of southernmost Tierra del Fuego province allowed them to wed in the provincial capital, Ushuaia.

Judge Elena Liberatori gave her approval to the second couple, two men whose names were not immediately released, to set a date to wed at the Civil Registry.

She said they were exercising their rights even if current laws "are not in line with the times."

Diario Digital, which offers the full 15-page ruling for download here (it's in Spanish), names the couple as Damián Bernath and Jorge Esteban Salazar. They also say that while the judge paved the way for the couple to get married, she stopped short of declaring current marriage laws as being unconstitutional (nevertheless, the country's Supreme Court is expected to take up the marriage equality issue at some point in the future).

When a court ruled in Freyre and Bello's favor back on November 11th, the men made plans to marry on December 1st in observance of World AIDS Day (both said they were HIV positive). They knew that theirs would be a historic marriage ceremony and they wanted to draw attention to to the plight of those living with HIV/AIDS.

That plan ran into trouble when another two city courts stepped in and asked for a stay on the proceedings at the very last minute and when the office of Buenos Aires Mayor Maurico Macri asked the Supreme Court to clarify if the city should follow the extraordinary court ruling.

That petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court and Freyre and Bello eventually were able to get married in a surprise wedding that took place on December 28th in Tierra Del Fuego, the southernmost region in the American continent.

This second time, Mayor Macri has announced that he will not appeal the ruling.

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