Gays and Lesbians
Despite its conspicuous Catholicism, Argentina is surprisingly tolerant to both gays and lesbians, and public displays of affection—men kissing on the cheek, women holding hands—are relatively common even among heterosexuals.
In 2002, the capital’s legislature established domestic-partner regulations applicable to gay couples (and to other unmarried couples as well), with regard to health insurance and pension rights. There was opposition from the Catholic Church and from the Buenos Aires Bar Association (the latter on a legal technicality that only the federal government could establish such legislation).
In late 2009, meanwhile, Buenos Aires mayor Mauricio Macri decided not to appeal a court judgment that permitted Alejandro Freyre and José Maria Di Bello to marry, but a federal judge blocked the ceremony until it could be considered by Argentina’s supreme court. In the interim, governor Fabiana Ríos of Tierra del Fuego Province issued a decree that allowed the couple to marry there despite legal ambiguity. And in July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Buenos Aires–based Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA, Tomás Liberti 1080, La Boca, tel. 011/4361-6352, www.cha.org.ar), the country’s foremost gay-rights organization, was instrumental in lobbying for the domestic partner legislation.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition