The Roman Catholic Church in Argentina
is rallying its faithful to demonstrate before Congress against a gay
marriage bill as senators prepare to consider the legislation, the
The Senate is expected to vote
Wednesday on a gay marriage bill approved in May by the country's
lower house, the Chamber of Deputies (la Camara de Diputados). The
Senate General Law committee, however, has recommended the Senate
take up a bill that recognizes gay couples with civil unions but
does not allow for adoption, and reject the marriage bill.
In calling on Catholics to attend
Tuesday's protest, Buenos Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio warned
that the legalization of gay marriage is being driven by the devil.
“Let's not be naïve, we're not
talking about a simple political battle; it is a destructive
pretension against the plan of God,” Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio wrote
in a letter calling on followers to join an anti-gay marriage rally
in the nation's capital.
“We are not talking about a mere
bill, but rather a move by the Father of Lies which aims to confuse
and deceive the children of God.”
President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner, who supports the legislation, said the church's tone was
reminiscent of “medieval times and the Inquisition.”
“It is disturbing to hear phrases
like war of God or the devil's projects, which are things that take
us back to medieval times and the Inquisition,” Kirchner told the
Argentine press during an official visit to China.
Ninety-one percent of Argentinians say
they are members of the Catholic Church.
The church is promoting the
demonstration with the theme “We want a mommy and a daddy.” A
reference to the fact that the bill would allow married gay couples
to adopt children.
The measure enters the final round of
voting with a sight lead, 32 senators in favor and 30 against. But
10 senators remain undecided and many have said they'll back the
civil unions bill.
The president of the National Institute
against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI), Claudio
Morgado, said the civil unions bill “has the same construct as
apartheid” and if approved would discriminate against gay couples
who would be given an inferior legal status to heterosexual couples.
If approved, Argentina would become the
first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage. The
institution is also legal in Mexico City, but the federal government
is challenging the law in court.