Argentina's House of Representatives
(la Camara de Diputados) will begin to debate a gay marriage bill
Wednesday, various Argentine news agencies are reporting.
The bill received the approval of a key
committee two weeks ago.
Recognition of gay unions is gaining
ground in the Roman Catholic stronghold of Argentina. Several
metropolitan cities – including the nation's capital of Buenos
Aires – have approved civil unions for gay couples.
Last December, two men were married in
the Argentine state of Tierra del Fuego after Governor Fabiana Rios
issued a special decree. The southern city of Ushuaia hosted the
wedding, which was originally scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires
on December 1 after a judge ruled the government's ban on gay
marriage unconstitutional, but a national judge ordered a halt to the
ceremony at the last minute. Three more gay couples have since
The legality of Alejandro Freyre's and
Jose Maria Di Bello's marriage remains in doubt after a magistrate
declared it “nonexistent” earlier this month. The couple,
however, has said they will appeal the ruling.
Other Latin American countries are also
considering taking action.
In March, a gay marriage law took
effect in Mexico City, making it the first municipality in Latin
America to approve such unions. Federal officials have appealed to
the country's Supreme Court to strike down the measure. Uruguay
recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions.
The Catholic Church stands strongly
opposed to the measure. The church said the state would be “in
contradiction with its duties by altering the principles of natural
law,” if it approved the bill.
If approved, Argentina would become the
first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage.