A male couple together for 27 years
were the first to marry in Argentina under a new law legalizing gay
Architect Juan Carlos Navarro, 54,
married his partner Miguel Angel Calefato, 65, in a ceremony that
took place Friday at 7:30AM in provincial Santiago del Estero.
“Respect has prevailed over
prejudice,” Navarro told daily El Liberal.
He said the men shared an instant
connection when they met nearly three decades ago while vacationing
on a beach resort.
The Navarro-Calefato wedding was poised
to make history after it leapfrogged ahead of another couple set to
marry in Mendoza on Saturday.
Navarro said the couple was not driven
by being first, but only wanted to be legally married.
Argentina became the first Latin
American country to legalize gay marriage after President Cristina
Fernandez de Kirchner signed the law on July 21. Lawmakers approved
the law over the strong objections of the Roman Catholic church; one
cardinal called the movement to legalize such unions the devil's
handiwork. Some judges have protested marrying gay couples.
Lawmakers also considered a civil
unions bill, but opted instead to give wedded gay and lesbian couples
all the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts,
including the right to jointly adopt children.
A gay marriage bill recently approved
by lawmakers in Portugal does not include the right to adopt.
Since the law's enactment, Chile
and Peru have announced plans to debate recognition of gay unions,
and Paraguay will consider gay marriage legislation. Gay
marriage is also legal in Mexico City, but federal officials are
challenging the law in court.
About two hours after the
Navarro-Calefato wedding a second gay couple married in Buenos Aires.
Alejandro Vanelli and Ernesto Larresse
tied the knot Friday after 34 years of partnership. The couple had
previously attempted to marry twice but had been denied.
Vanelli, 61, is an agent who represents
over 200 actors, while Larresse, 60, is an actor.
“I have only words of gratitude,”
an emotional Vanelli said.
The marriage was witnessed by actors
Mercedes Moran, Boy Olmi and Gerardo Romano.
Olmi said he was proud to be part of
the historic wedding.
The weddings were the first of many
expected in coming weeks. At least three additional gay couples are
expected to marry in Argentina on Saturday.