Friday, April 16, 2010

Argentina: First and only lesbian marriage has been annulled

[NOTE: Click here for an update to this post. A court has ruled that their marriage is valid, after all - Andrés]

And then there was one:  Of four same-sex marriages that have taken place in Argentina, only one remains with legal standing.

From Telam this afternoon:
The first marriage between women in Argentina, celebrated three days ago in the city of Buenos Aires between Norma Castillo and Ramona Areval - both 67 years old and having lived together for 30 years - was annulled today by a judge, in response to an injunction requested by an attorney, judicial sources said.

The civil judge of the first court, Martha Gómez Alsina, declared the marriage "non-existent", until the underlying issue is resolved, in giving latitude for the claim presented by attorney Ricardo Ernesto Lamuedra.

This is the same attorney who last Monday was able to get civil court judge Federico Gustavo Irazabal to declare that the marriage between Damián Bernath and Jorge Salazar was non-existent.
The judge said that her judgment was based on the fact that the Buenos Aires Civil Registry specifically stated that marriages should be between a man and a woman and added that the decision "did not signify any advance opinion on the merits of the issue or discrimination against the stable co-living arrangements between people of the same gender."

Telam says that Lamuerda also had a role in keeping any Buenos Aires civil court from marrying Alex Freyre and José Maria Di Bello when they were seeking to become the first couple to marry in Argentina (they would later marry in Tierra del Fuego although their marriage was also annulled this week).

Freyre and Di Bello, Bernath and Salazar and now Castillo and Areval. All their marriages have been annulled in separate courts. The only one that remains is the one that took place yesterday in Buenos Aires between Carlos Alvarez and Martin Canavaro.  Expect that marriage to be challenged as well even as a federal marriage equality bill gets closer to being debated in the Argentinian legislature.

Update (April 17, 2010): Sur 54 says that the LGBT Argentinian Federation (FALGBT) has announced they will appeal the Tierra del Fuego marriage annulment and seek to reinstate the validity and current standing of the Freyre and Di Bello marriage.  They argue that the judge acted arbitrarily and outside his purview and that the Freyre-Di Bello marriage stands until a final judgment.


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