29 Dec 2009

First legal gay wedding in Latin America

7:27 pm on 29 December 2009

Two Argentine men have become the first same-sex couple to marry legally in Latin America.

Gay and lesbian groups in the region say it's a milestone in their fight for equality in the predominantly Catholic region, the BBC reports.

The men, who are both HIV-positive, had planned to get married on 1 December, World Aids Day, but were prevented by doing so by a judge in the capital Buenos Aires.

The pair eventually travelled to Tierra del Fuego, where they received the support of provincial governor Fabiana Rios and tied the knot in a civil ceremony in the southern city of Ushuaia.

Although Argentina's civil code bans gay marriage, the constitution is silent on the matter and Ms Rios reportedly exploited this grey area and gave the two men a special dispensation.

She said in a statement that gay marriage was "an important advance in human rights and social inclusion".

However Bishop Juan Carlos, of the southern Argentine city of Rio Gallegos, called the marriage "an attack against the survival of the human species".

The Argentine Supreme Court is expected to rule on gay marriage next year.

Earlier this month Mexico City became Latin America's first municipality to approve gay marriage.