Dramatic breakthrough for marriage equality in Argentina

by on July 15, 2010  •  In Marriage

Argentina, after a 16-hour debate last night in its Senate, has become the tenth nation in the world and the first in Latin America to legalize marriage for gay couples (joining Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden). Mad Professah Ron Buckmire has posted a description of some of the legislative strategy. The best background coverage I've seen so far is from Andres Duque at Blabbeando:  

  • President Cristina FĂ©rnandez de Kirchner had already said that she would not veto the bill if it reached her desk but, for the most part, she had been absolutely mum on whether she supported the bill.
  • Last week things changed when Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso, a member of the ultra-conservative Opus Dei, pulled out a homophobic card out her sleeve and introduced a brand new "civil union" bill which she hoped would draw away votes from the marriage bill once it reached the senate and kill it. Negre de Alonso, who had previously stated she opposed marriage equality because she wanted to "protect the children", was also the president of the senate committee studying which version of the bill would reach the senate vote.
  • Meanwhile, while the Catholic church was dormant in the early stages of the legislative process, they certainly became active in the last few weeks. Increasing their fundamentalist homophobic ire, they began a campaign to motivate followers to oppose the bill, wouldn't you know it, "for the sake of the children". For the purported sake of the children they called the marriage equality bill  the work of the Devil and called for a Holy War to defeat the bill.
  • That's whats set President Kirchner off. Having left on a diplomatic trip to China last week and still away from the country tonight, she held a press conference and said the following…

W00t! That might be the strongest statement ever by a Latin American president on behalf of marriage equality and folk are right to say that not even Obama has been this forthcoming when it comes to the issue BUT you also have to realize that Kirchner was mum all along, even as the bill survived the House of Deputies, and only spoke up a couple of days before the vote. Some say it was a strategy to not associate the bill too strongly with the party in charge.

Those were the facts you might now. Here are the facts you might not know

  • Opponents of the marriage equality bill who sought to draw away votes last week by introducing a bogus "civil union" bill apparently didn't realize that their bill would not be debated on the floor tonight anyway due to parliamentary procedure which says that new bills cannot be debated before 14 days after being introduced (or at least I believe that is the limit I heard). In addition the bogus "civil union" bill was thrown out of debate yesterday by a procedural vote, which means that today in the senate the ONLY bill that would be debated was the marriage equality bill.
  • There was a question earlier yesterday as to whether quorum would be reached for a vote. Proponents of the marriage equality bill also promised they would not bring the bill up for debate unless they had secured enough votes for passage of the bill. Apparently they did secure the votes because this afternoon quorum was reached and the Senate has gone into marriage equality debate mode since then.
  • As for marriage equality activists in Argentina, the LGBT Federation of Argentina (FALGBT), led by amazing LGBT rights activist Maria Rachid, has launched two of the most amazing and effective marriage equality ads I have ever seen. [See the ads here.]  


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