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Argentina authorizes the marriage of gay and lesbian foreigners

Two gay couples from Australia and Paraguay have already married under the new resolution
Australian gay couple Alex Greenwich and Victor Höld is the second foreign couple to wed in Argentina under the new law.

Gay and straight tourists can now marry in four districts in Argentina.

The city of Buenos Aires passed a resolution on 18 May that approves the marriage of foreign couples regardless of their nationality or sexual orientation.

This March two men from Paraguay, Simón Cazal y Sergio López, became the first foreign gay couple to marry in Argentina. Cazal is president of the Paraguayan gay rights group SomosGay.

Alex Greenwich and Victor Höld, a gay couple from Sydney, Australia married 11 May.

Though the law grants foreign couples marriage rights under the Argentine constitution, there is no guarantee that these same-sex marriages will be recognized outside the country.

'With the marriage between tourists in the City of Buenos Aires, a new phase begins.' said Esteban Paulón, president of Argentine gay-rights group Federación Argentina LGBT (FALGBT).

'More and more will come to Argentina to enjoy the rights that are not recognized in their countries, and they will then be able to seek the recognition of their unions by judicial means. We welcome the decision by the municipality of Buenos Aires to guarantee the recognition of these rights and promote equality from the capital of our country to the rest of the world'.

The move could further boost gay marriage tourism to Argentina, where already 18 percent of tourism revenue comes from services unique to the gay sector, according to data from the Secretariat of Tourism of Buenos Aires.

To marry in Argentina, foreign applicants need only provide certified copies of their passports and proof of temporary address, be it a hotel or a friend's home.

The civil registry will expedite the request and grant permission to marry within five days. Foreign couples are allowed to marry in the districts of Santa Fe, Tierra Del Fuego and Buenos Aires.

The measure was signed under the office of Mayor Mauricio Macri, though Congresswoman María Rachid of Buenos Aires had introduced a bill to that effect in April.

Mayor Mauricio Macri's decision is significant, since in 2009 he accepted a court's decision to bar a gay marriage from taking place in Buenos Aires.

Earlier this month, Argentina approved a ground-breaking law that allows any adult to change their gender without approval from doctors or judges.

In July 2010, Argentina's president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner legalized equal marriage, making Argentina the first country in Latin America to do so. 

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