Yesterday, after a long debate and mounting tension between Argentina’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and the Catholic church, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage.
The discussion, which lasted until 4 a.m., concluded with 33 lawmakers in favor of the new bill and 27 against it. The bill grants homosexual couples the same legal rights, responsibilities, and protections as the law provides for heterosexual couples. For now, it is only available to citizens and residents of Argentina who can get married within the country.
This was a historic vote for Argentina. It shows how far the predominantly Catholic country has come, from dictatorship to true democracy. Gay activists in neighboring countries, as well as activists around the world, hope to follow Argentina’s lead in the fight for marital freedom and equality.