WATCH | Argentina Legalizes Gay Marriage

argentina gay pride 706x530 WATCH | Argentina Legalizes Gay Marriage

Demonstrators in Buenos Aires wave a gay pride flag Wednesday outside Argentina's Congress in support of a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.

Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to give gays and lesbians all the legal rights that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.

“Marriage between a man and a woman has existed for centuries, and is essential for the perpetuation of the species,” insisted Sen. Juan Perez Alsina, usually a loyal supporter of the president, who gave a passionate speech against gay marriage.

But Sen. Norma Morandini, another member of the president’s party, compared the discrimination that gays face to the oppression imposed by Argentina’s dictators decades ago.

“What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance,” she said.

But Argentina now becomes the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, granting gays and lesbians all the same rights and responsibilities that heterosexuals have. These include many more rights than civil unions, including adopting children and inheriting wealth. The proposed law broadly declares that “marriage provides for the same requisites and effects independent of whether the contracting parties are of the same or different sex.”

The essence of a family is between two people of opposite sexes. Any variation goes against the law, and against nature.

- Ines Franck, director of the group Familias Argentinas

“Nearly every political and social figure has spoken out in favor of marriage equality for everyone,” said Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals. “Argentina, from today forward, is a more just country for all families.”

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