Argentina's Senate is expected to take
a decisive vote on a gay marriage bill Wednesday, two months after
the law cleared the nation's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies.
The Senate General Law Committee,
however, has recommended the Senate reject the marriage proposal and
instead take up a bill that recognizes gay couples with civil unions
but does not allow for adoption.
Tens of thousands of people Tuesday
rallied against the bill in the nation's capital city of Buenos
Aires. At the rally, sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church, to
which 91% of the population claims allegiance, people held banners
that read “We want a mommy and daddy,” “Praise the family,”
and “We support the real family.”
A crowd of approximately 1,000 pro-gay
marriage activists held a counter rally at a nearby monument.
In calling on Catholics to reject gay
marriage, the church called the bill the devil's handiwork. Buenos
Aires Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio said the movement was backed by “the
Father of Lies” and “aims to confuse and deceive the children of
Calling the church's tone reminiscent
of “medieval times and the Inquisition,” President Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner, who supports the legislation, chided the
“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.
As of Wednesday morning, analysts in
the Argentine press were predicting the measure would be approved by
a narrow majority, provided 3 objecting senators abstain.
Some critics have charged that the
president is peddling the issue to boost her family's political
dynasty. Former president Nestor Kirchner, now a congressman, is
expected to try to regain the presidential palace next year.
Polling shows that nearly 70 percent of
Argentinians support marriage equality for gay and lesbian 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.