Argentine Congress votes to legalize same-sex marriage

by Rex Wockner

International News Briefs

Argentina's Chamber of Deputies voted to legalize same-sex marriage May 4 after 11 hours of debate.

The vote was 125 to 109 with 15 absences and 6 abstentions.

Deputies were allowed to vote their consciences rather than their party's position - a step usually reserved for particularly controversial matters.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where its prospects are unclear.

President Cristina Fernandez has vowed not to veto the measure if the Senate sends it to her.

Argentina has been experiencing chaos around same-sex marriage since late last year.

Four gay couples and one lesbian couple have been allowed to marry following judicial rulings that applied specifically to each couple. But other judges then annulled four of the five marriages, at the request of hostile parties. Then, one of the four annulled marriages was un-annulled.

The canceled marriages included the groundbreaking Dec. 28, 2009, marriage of Buenos Aires gay activists Alex Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello that took place in the far southern province of Tierra del Fuego.

Should Congress fail to legalize same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court also is looking into tackling the issue.

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