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Argentina celebrates four years of gay marriage with over 9,000 unions

In July 2009, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, the second-biggest in the Americas and tenth in the world legalize same-sex marriage
Photo via FALGBT.

15 July marks four years of Argentina passing marriage equality laws.

Four years later, pro-gay marriage advocates continue to face opposition from religious leaders.

In a March 2014 interview with La Nacion, Héctor Aguer, one of Argentina’s highest religious officials, called marriage equality an ‘unjust law’ that goes against the ‘natural order’, not just that of the Church.

Despite this constant opposition, a reported 9,500 same-sex couples have married in the past four years according to La Nacion.

Estimates also show 1,300 same-sex couples married within the first six months of the law, for a total of 3,697 in the first year.

The hot-button topic of marriage equality furthered into the Argentine consciousness and legislation thanks in lare part to the campaigning of local LGBTI rights groups, including and most prominently the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans Federation of Argentina (FALGBT) and the Homosexual Community of Argentina (CHA).

Numerous activists, lawyers and politicians threw their weight in court behind the battle for marriage equality, and the Argentine government has since then shown itself to champion LGBT rights not just at home, but also those of foreigners.

In May 2012 the Argentine government also legalized the marriage of gay and lesbian foreigners, requiring only passports and temporary proof of address, and with the caveat that there was no guarantee the marriage would be recognized outside the country depending on the government.

In spite of this and gay marriage not being legal in Paraguay, 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.

'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).

The move was thought to further boost gay marriage tourism to Argentina, which at the time already account for 18% of tourism revenue coming from services unique to the gay sector, according to data from the Secretariat of Tourism of Buenos Aires.

Naturally, the legislation proved attractive to nationals from countries with some of the world’s most homophobic laws.

In February 2014, Gay Star News reported a gay Russian couple wed in Argentina with the purpose of seeking asylim from Putin’s ‘anti-gay propaganda’ law.

While this and additional cases highlighted the legal complexities of growing and changing same-sex marriage legislation, Argentina’s LGBTI rights advocates continue to support groups in neighboring countries throughout the region.

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