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Same-sex marriages (SSM), civil unions, etc.

SSM bill considered by Argentina Parliament:
Part 1

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Two conflicting quotations about a bill to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM):

  • Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, Argentina's most senior Roman Catholic leader, referred to the bill as: "... a machination of the Father of Lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God." 1 This appears to be a paraphrase of one of the most anti-semitic passages in the New Testament. The "Father of Lies" is Satan.

  • Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Federation, said: "From today onward, Argentina is a more just and democratic country. [The law] not only recognizes the rights of our families, but also the possibility of having access to health care, to leave a pension, to leave our assets to the people with whom we have shared many years of life, including our children." 2

Yes, they are referring to the same bill.

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Timeline of events:

  • 2009-OCT: A bill to legalize SSM throughout the country was introduced into the Congress. It initially stalled without a vote having been taken.

  • Image of married gay couple kissing2009-DEC-28: Jose Maria Di Bello (L) and his partner Alex Freyre were married at a government registry office in Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world. It is located in Tierra del Fuego province at the southern tip of Argentina. They became the first same-sex couple in Latin America to marry. Di Bello, 41, is an executive at the Argentine Red Cross. Freyre, 39, is the executive director of the Buenos Aries AIDS Foundation. Both of them are HIV positive.

    The constitution of Argentina does not specifically restrict a marriage to a union of one man and one woman. The matter is left up to city and provincial officials to decide. The couple had originally tried to get married in Buenos Aires -- the capital of Argentina, which is generally regarded as the most gay-positive city in South America. City officials there initially agreed to let the marriage proceed but later withdrew permission citing conflicting judicial rulings. City officials in Ushuaia were initially opposed to the marriage, but later agreed after the provincial government backed the couple's wishes.

    • Jose Maria Di Bello called the marriage "... a step forward toward judicial equality for every man and woman [in the country] We believe that more homosexual couples will be able to marry in Ushuaia."

    • Governor Fabiana Rios issued a statement saying that same-sex marriage "... "is an important advance in human rights and social inclusion and we are very happy that this has happened in our state."

    • Claudio Morgado, an official representative of the federal government's anti-discrimination agency, attended the ceremony and called it "historic."

    • Juan Carlos, Roman Catholic bishop of the southern city of Rio Gallegos said: "The decision took me by surprise and I'm concerned." He called the marriage: "... an attack against the survival of the human species." His reasoning appears to be based on a belief that homosexual orientation is a personal choice. If the state allows gays and lesbians to have a normal life free of persecution and including the option of marriage, then he fears that more people will choose to have a homosexual orientation and that this will lower birth rate. 3,4 However, if one accepts the near consensus of human sexuality researchers, therapists, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, religious liberals and social liberals then one's conclusion is quite different. These groups generally believe that sexual orientation is discovered rather than chosen, and is unchangeable (or essentially so) in adulthood. Thus, oppressing same-sex couples and preventing them from marrying will have little or no effect on the birth rate.

      In addition, the world's population of humans has increased from 6 to almost 7 billion people. The human race does not seem to be in any danger of becoming extinct.

  • 2010-MAY-05: The same-sex marriage bill was reactivated in the Chamber of Deputies, Argentina's lower house, and quickly passed.

  • 2010-JUL-04: During this week, a Senate committee recommended an alternate bill that would create a system of civil unions. The bill would not allow same-sex couples to adopt, or allow them to undergo in-vitro fertilization in order to have children. It would enable civil servants to refuse to register their unions. However. it would have granted the couples other rights, privileges and protections for themselves and their children equivalent to what married opposite-couples receive. Parliamentary maneuvers prevented the full Senate from voting on civil unions. 5,2
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  • 2010-JUL-07: Carlos Aguero, the public-affairs director for Argentina for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, [LDS] attended a "... meeting with leaders from several conservative Christian churches and traditional family organizations, according to a Buenos Aires newspaper." 6 Reporter Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribute wrote that the purpose of the meeting was to organize opposition to the SSM bill. However, according to LDS spokesperson t Scott Trotter, Aguero’s participation in the protest planning should not be seen as a church endorsement of opposition to marriage equality.

    Trotter is quoted as saying:

    "The [LDS] Church has made its support of traditional marriage clear but it does not involve itself institutionally in every same-sex election contest. The church took no official position on the marriage legislation in Argentina and did not organize its members to participate in opposing the legislation."

    The Salt Lake Tribute article stated:

    "Instead, Mormon leaders in Argentina on Sunday read a letter from the Utah-based church’s governing First Presidency, reiterating its support for traditional marriage, to all congregations in that South American country. The letter did not ask members to contribute time or money to the opposition, as it had in California’s Proposition 8, which opposed gay marriage."

    " 'The doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is absolutely clear: Marriage is between a man and a woman and is ordained of God,' wrote President Thomas S. Monson and his counselors, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf. 'We recommend that together as families you review ‘ The Family: A Proclamation to the World’ to understand more fully the doctrine of the church in regards to this topic'."

    Within 24 hours, readers of the Salt Lake Tribune article had posted 670 comments, many with a sarcastic tone. 6

  • 2010-JUL-11: As is the case in other countries, the bill is immensely unpopular among the conservative Christian leadership and many of their laity -- particularly those who live in rural areas. During Sunday Mass, clergy throughout the country read a message from Jorge Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. With the support of the country's Conference of Catholic Bishops he urged believers to protest on JUL-13 in front of Congress. He called the bill a "... destructive attack on God’s plan." 7 The Catholic Church teaches that God's plan for gays and lesbians is celibacy. He also raised concern about the bill's authorization of adoption by same-sex couples. He said that it is important to ensure that children have "both a father and a mother" as role models.

  • 2010-JUL-12: A large crowd rallied to oppose the SSM bill and to support the concept of marriage as a special right extended only to opposite-sex couples. Also joining in the rally and opposing marriage equality were the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches and the Evangelical Pentecostal Confraternity Federation and many Protestant laity. 1 The size of the crowd was estimated as "thousands of people." "tens of thousands of opponents," "60,000 people," and "between 50,000 and 250,000." One group carried a large banner that stated: "SODOMA = ARGENTINA," the meaning of which seems obvious.

    The bishops of La Pampa in the centre of Argentina, distributed a letter defending the concept of families being restricted to "a mom and a dad, naturally endowed with the remarkable wealth of fertility." There is no indication that the Church is planning on opposing marriage by opposite-sex, infertile couples; they appear to reject only same-sex couples.

  • 2010-JUL-15: There had been seven to nine other same-sex marriages -- sources differ -- in various cities of Argentina since the end of 2009. However, some were declared invalid. Without enabling legislation, the legal status of SSM was undefined. Some of the married couples have appealed the rulings of lower courts and planned to go to the Supreme Court if necessary to defend their marriages.

    Polls show that most adults in the country support same-sex marriage. There is the usual urban/rural split and is probably disagreement among persons of different ages, as is seen elsewhere. 8

    Maria Rachid, president of the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals, said: "Nearly every political and social figure has spoken out in favor of marriage equality. ... And we hope that the Senate reflects this and that Argentina, from today forward, is a more just country for all families." 9

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Discussion of this topic continues in Part 2

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Argentina passes same-sex marriage bill,", 2010-JUL-15, at:
  2. Michael Warren, "Argentina legalizes gay marriage in historic vote," Yahoo! News, 2010-JUL-15, at:
  3. "Argentina hosts first gay marriage in Latin America," AFP, 2009-DEC-29, at:
  4. Almudena Calatrava, "Gay marriage in Argentina is 1st in Latin America," Associated Press, 2009-DEC-29, at:
  5. "Catholic Church rallies against Argentina gay bill," AFP, 2010-JUL-12, at:
  6. Peggy Fletcher Stack, "LDS official did have role in Argentina gay-marriage battle," The Salt Lake Tribune, 2010-JUL-15, at:
  7. Alexi Barrioneuvo, "Argentina approves gay marriage, in a first for region," The New York Times, 2010-JUL-115, at:
  8. Karina Grazina, "Argentina approves landmark gay marriage bill, Reuters, 2010-JUL-15, at:
  9. "Argentine Senate backs bill legalizing gay marriage," BBC News, 2010-JUL-15, at:

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Copyright 2009 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-OCT
Latest update: 2010-JUL-17
Author: B.A. Robinson

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