July 23, 2014
CFK becomes godmother of gay couple's son
The first child of a same-sex couple to be baptized with approval by the Argentine Catholic Church has come to have a more-than-special godmother: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
It marks the first case in which the president is the godmother of anyone outside the law that rules the president is automatically the godparent of any seventh child.
Umma Azul’s baptism will took place today in the Córdoba City Cathedral in the province of Córdoba. Fernández de Kirchner did not attend the ceremony and was represented by Navy official Claudia Fenochio.
The lesbian couple had gained notoriety last year due to their involvement in a labour dispute with Córdoba province police over one of the mother’s right to maternity leave.
The mother, Carina Villarroel and Soledad Ortíz, got married in 2013, three years after the country became the first in Latin America to legalise same-sex marriage.
“We vindicate this decision by the nation’s president to become Umma’s godmother,” César Cigliutti, president of the Argentine Homosexual Community, said. “These acts are the ones that help us in our struggle to battle discrimination over to sexual orientation and gender identity.”
This is the first case in Argentina of a Catholic baptism involving a legally married same-sex couple.
Ortíz and Villarroel are currently involved in an ongoing dispute with Córdoba Police after they refused to grant Villarroel maternity leave on the grounds she did not carry the girl through pregnancy. Villarroel was eventually dismissed from the force by the provincial Police Conduct Tribunal for not showing up at work.
Last month, Alex Freyre, a gay-rights activist, told the Herald he largely agreed with those who said Pope Francis was at least indirectly to thank for this development.
“The media wants a gay-friendly pope and so too does society,” he said. “The fact that he is Argentine and he senses the exposure gay-rights issues get in this country, I think is a good thing and it helps.”
But Freyre, who was part of the first gay couple to marry in Argentina, also had words of caution.
“The Church accepts homosexuals, but not homosexuality in practice. So in terms of sin, this girl is not at fault for her mothers being gay or not. It’s an interesting development because in another era this wouldn’t have happened,” he explained.