It’s official in Argentina: President Cristina Fernandez signs gay marriage bill into law

Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, signed into law on Wednesday a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. From the Associated Press:

“Today we are a society that is a little more egalitarian than last week,” Fernandez said at the signing ceremony.

Representatives of groups for gays and lesbians cheered, crying out “Equality, equality!”

The law, which was approved by the Senate last week following earlier endorsement by the lower house, grants same-sex couples the full legal protections and responsibilities that marriage gives to heterosexual couples, including the ability to inherit property and to jointly adopt children.

Washington-based LGBT leader Bob Witeck happened to be in Argentina for Wednesday’s ceremony. Via Rex Wockner, here’s a portion of Witeck’s report:

In her office, after her official act was complete, she was captivating, dramatic, ebullient, intense and embracing — still touched by the poignancy of the signing ceremony itself.  After she signed the legislation in the public space downstairs, we witnessed hundreds of the attendees inside the room and outside as well, begin to press forward to touch her, hug her, hand her flowers, seek photos with her — in a throbbing human crush that probably mirrors the passionate nature of Argentinian public life most of us merely know from history or films. It was a scene of such emotion that as a lifelong resident of Washington DC, I cannot imagine any such event resembling this scene taking place in the White House or in many executive mansions — and simply because of the risk of physical harm alone to the President or others in the pushing, pressing and jubilant crowd on the floor.

Witeck points us to this Spanish-language blog that has posted a three-part video of the ceremony. We’ve posted the final segment above.

—  admin

Argentina legalizes gay marriage

Argentinian president supports bill that passed the Senate

Rex Wockner  |  Wockner News Service wockner@panix.com

PROTESTING THE INEVITABLE | Members of Catholic groups protest outside Argentina’s Congress against a same-sex marriage bill in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, July 13. On Thursday, July 15, senators voted to pass the measure, making Argentina the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. (Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press)

Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in the early morning hours of Thursday July 15, with a 33-27 vote in the Senate, with three abstentions. The vote came at 4:05 a.m.

The Chamber of Deputies had approved the bill in May, and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner strongly supports it.

“The bill has passed. It is law. The executive power will be notified,” the Senate president said as the vote was displayed on an electronic board in the chamber.

The debate lasted nearly 15 hours.

“The result sparked euphoria among the [LGBT] activists who, despite the polar wave that grips the city, held a vigil in the Plaza of the Two Congresses,” said Buenos Aires’ Clarín newspaper after the vote.

The website of Argentina’s main gay political group, la Federación Argentina LGBT, was kicked off the Internet and replaced with a “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded” notice.

Evan Wolfson, head of the U.S. group Freedom to Marry, applauded the vote. “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 12 countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality,” he said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 16, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas