Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Argentina Senate to Vote on Gay Marriage

Already known for having one of the most gay-friendly capitals in the world, Argentina is in the throes of a debate this week over granting the broadest marital protections to gay people in Latin America.

In what is expected to be a fierce discussion, Argentina’s Senate is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill allowing gay people to wed. The proposed law has increased frictions between the Roman Catholic Church and the government of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, which is pushing the bill.

The war of words continued on Tuesday as church leaders staged large protests around the country against the proposed law. On Sunday, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, had declared it a “destructive attack on God’s plan.”

Mrs. Kirchner harshly criticized church leaders on Monday, saying that their discourse on the issue resembled “the times of the Crusades” and that they failed to acknowledge how socially liberal Argentina had become.

“They are portraying this as a religious moral issue and as a threat to ‘the natural order,’ when what we are really doing is looking at a reality that is already there,” the president said from Beijing. “It would be a terrible distortion of democracy if they denied minorities their rights.”

Gay rights advocates said Mrs. Kirchner and her husband, former President Néstor Kirchner, are responding to polls showing that nearly 70 percent of Argentines support giving gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals.

To read more:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/world/americas/14argentina.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=a4

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