Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Breaking: Argentinean congress passes marriage equality bill by a vote of 125-109


With 125 votes in favor, 109 against, 6 abstentions and 16 absent lawmakers, the Argentinean House of Deputies just approved a historic marriage equality bill [the image above captures the moments after the vote when marriage equality advocates erupted in cheers and unfurled flags down the side walls of the debate floor; the message on the blue flag was a dig at representatives from the Peronist party, most of whom vote against the bill. It reads "Putos Peronistas" or "Peronist fags"].

Speaking live on CN5, Maria Rachid, Director of The Argentinian LGBT Federation (FALGBT), noted that it was the first time that the body of a legislative branch of a government had voted in favor of same-sex marriage in all of Latin America.

The vote followed more than 11 hours of debate on the House floor and counted with the support of members of the Socialist Party as well as supporters of the Cristina Férnandez de Kirchner government [Deputies were freed by their parties to "vote their conscience" earlier in the day].

To become law, the Argentinean Senate would first have to debate and approve the bill. Getting a bill approved by the Senate is expected to be a much tougher challenge for marriage equality advocates although the House vote pushes the issue to the front and it is now expected that a Senate vote might come within weeks.

Five same-sex couples have been granted the right to marry in Argentina, including Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello, who married on December 28th and became have the first same-sex couple to ever marry in all of Latin America.  But their marriage, which was later annulled, came through victories in the courts.  Of those initial five marriages, only two are left standing with any validity.

Both Freyre and Di Bello were standing on the House floor tonight when the final vote took place.

Throughout the night, as people watched the debate on a weak live feed provided by the House, people took to Twitter and the #MatrimonioGay hashtag to keep up with the latest.  Advocates chided Argentinean television for not carrying such a historic debate until late at night and just before the vote.

Mexico City adopted a limited marriage equality law back on December 21st, but it didn't go into effect until March 11th and the law was passed by a locality and not a branch of the national legislative body.

UPDATE: From Reuters:
Argentina's lower house passed on Wednesday a gay marriage bill that, if also approved by senators, will put the South American country among a handful in the world that allow homosexual couples to marry.
Small groups of gay rights supporters and opponents of the marriage bill gathered outside Congress where deputies approved the measure with 125 votes in favour and 109 against after 12 hours of heated debate.
"Love isn't owned by heterosexuals," said Deputy Felipe Sola, who backed the bill. "If we're all equal before the law, why do we want to give a different name to unions between same-sex couples?"
The bill permits gay couples to adopt children for the first time, one of its most controversial provisions... [read on HERE]

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