Latin America's first gay marriage will
take place Tuesday in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The marriage of
Alejandro Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, is certain to
divide the heavily Roman Catholic nation.
“Our December 1 civil wedding service
will launch a new campaign in the coming months in different major
cities to allow same-sex couples to do the same,” Freyre told
reporters on Friday.
Earlier this month, Judge Gabriela
Seijas ordered government officials to allow the two men to marry.
Her order only affects the progressive city of Buenos Aires, where
gay couples won the right to enter civil unions in 2002. City
officials said they would not appeal the court's decision, opening
the door to gay marriage for the first time in Latin America.
The ruling could improve the odds for a
gay marriage bill currently being debated in the Argentine Congress.
If approved, Argentina would become the first Latin American country
to legalize gay marriage and only the second country in the Americas,
A similar measure introduced in 2007
fueled a backlash from the Roman Catholic Church, which opposes the
measure. The church wields huge influence in the country of 40
million. Until 1994, the nation's president and vice president were
required by law to be members of the Catholic Church and married.
“Claiming heterosexuality as a
prerequisite for marriage is not discrimination,” Archbishop Jose
Maria Arancedo of Santa Fe told the paper La Nation.
Lawmakers in Mexico City have also
introduced a gay marriage bill. Uruguay, however, is the only nation
to recognize gay couples with civil unions. The tiny nation also
allows gay couples to adopt and gay men and lesbians can serve openly
in the military.