Argentina's Senate voted 33-27 on Thursday to pass a marriage equality bill. Because a lower house has already approved the bill, the legislation becomes law as soon as it is published in the official bulletin. The Washington Post reports:
Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to grant gays and lesbians all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.
After a marathon debate, 33 lawmakers voted in favor, 27 were against it and 3 abstained in Argentina’s Senate in a vote that ended after 4 a.m. Since the lower house already approved it, and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, it now becomes law as soon as it is published in the official bulletin.
The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have increasingly found Buenos Aires to be more accepting than many other places in the region.
The U.S. based group Freedom to Marry issued this supportive statement about the Argentina decision:
"Today's historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values, and how far the freedom to marry movement has come as twelve countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality. Argentina's vote for the freedom to marry marks an important advance for fairness and family values as more couples around the world will now share in marriage, with families helped and no one hurt. Today's vote adds momentum to the international movement to secure the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples."
"Key to Argentina's human rights achievement was strong leadership from legislators and the president. It is time we see more of our own elected officials standing up for the Constitution and all families here in the United States. America should lead, not lag, when it comes to treating everyone equally under the law."
GLAAD applauds this decision to extend marriage protections to committed same-sex couples in Argentina who will now have the same opportunity to take care of and be responsible for one another. We'll have more from our Spanish Languge Media Program later today.