Gay couple weds in Tierra del Fuego
The two men, who are HIV positive, were granted a marriage licence by a municipal judge in Buenos Aires City in November that allowed the couple to wed in the capital, despite national legistlation of defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
They planned to marry on December 1 for World Aids Day but a federal judge overturned the wedding decision and ordered it suspended moments before the ceremony.
The couple then travelled to Ushuaia in the province of Tierra del Fuego, where they were given residency by the governor, who upheld the initial ruling allowing them to marry, said Claudio Morgado, INADI National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism.
“The first same-sex marriage in Latin America and the Caribbean finally took place,” said Morgado, a witness to the wedding.
“This has been possible thanks to a long fight for our rights.”
Tierra del Fuego Governor Fabiana Ríos said in a statement that gay marriage “is an important advance in human rights and social inclusion and we are very happy that this has happened in our province.”
Di Bello said the city of Ushuaia initially declined to authorize the marriage but went ahead after the couple received backing from the province of Tierra del Fuego.
“We filed an administrative appeal to the government of Tierra del Fuego, which finally authorized the wedding,” he said.
Di Bello, 41, an executive at the Argentine Red Cross, met Freyre, 39, executive director of the Buenos Aires AIDS Foundation, at an HIV awareness conference. Both are HIV-positive.
A bill that would legalize gay marriage was introduced in Argentina’s Congress in October but it has stalled without a vote.
Many sectors remain opposed to gay marriage, particularly the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio harshly criticized City Mayor Mauricio Macri when he decided not to appeal the first court ruling that had allowed Freyre and Di Bello to wed.
Buenos Aires became the first Latin American city to allow civil unions by same-sex couples in 2002. Same-sex civil unions have been also been legalized in Uruguay, Mexico City and some states in Mexico and Brazil. Marriage carries more exclusive rights such as adopting children, inheriting wealth and enabling a partner to gain citizenship.
Only seven countries in the world allow gay marriages: Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. US states that permit same-sex marriage are Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire.