Another phase of the same-sex marriage conflictTuesday, July 13, 2010
Upper House approves same-sex marriage bill after marathon-like debate
After a more-than-thirteen-hour debate in which religious, political and civil issues aroused, the Upper House finally passed the same-sex marriage bill with 33 votes in favour and 27 against. Three senators abstained from voting and 9 were absent. The bill, which already posted a preliminary approval in the Lower House, turns Argentina into the first Latin American country to allow gay couples to get married.
Some senators surprised with their voting, but the initiative was highly approved by the Senate's provisional president José Pampuro, who assured he was to vote in favour in case he had to.
Lawmakers at the congressional room first decided to debate on the General Legislation Committee resolution that had been issued last week and afterwards began debating what was to be the approved-law.
Quorum was mustered thanks to the presence of senador Carlos Menem, who later on left the room. Another surprised came with Luis Viana's presence, who voted against the bill after everyone had though he was to be absent.
Senator Hilda González de Duhalde said that she "agrees with and would have voted in favour of the civil unions bill" while defending her vote against the same sex marriage bill, saying that "we have other priorities as a society."
"We have spoken about discrimination without tiring," said Duhalde, who claimed to "not have issues" with homosexuals, although she did add that "if this bill gets passed without a national project" for growth, we will "continue to divide and waste time without worrying about the issues of the people."
"I was in agreement with and would have voted in favour of the civil union bill. We are responsible for what happens here, for the result of this law and, unfortunately, we are getting sicker as a society," she said.
The wife of ex Argentine president Eduardo Duhalde said that the approval of this bill would go against "the law."
Earlier, before entering Congress, head of the Victory Front caucus Miguel Angel Pichetto, said that the voting process would be "tight," and added that "minorities can never impose their needs on the majority, and that's what Congress is for. To provide them with the rights they need."
Pichetto said he believed "the bill would be approved."
"I just hope the Senate can carry an important debate, and remain committed to minorities," he remarked, as he expressed that "the law must guarantee everyone with the same rights."
"We believe that the Senate must vote for the same-sex marriage bill, and not the civil union bill. Rights are rights. You either grant them or not," he concluded.
However, senator Liliana Alegre de Alonso considered the rejection to the civil union bill to be "random and illegal" and critiziced senators "who hop on a plane to take a trip to China."