Early this morning the Argentine Senate passed a law giving homosexual couples the right to legally wed and adopt children. The law passed by a vote of 33 to 27, making Argentina the first Latin American country to approve gay marriage, reports the New York Times. According to Reuters, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, an open supporter of gay rights, is expected to officially sign the law upon her return from a state visit to China.
According to Time, the Senate debated the measure for 15 hours, while hundreds of demonstrators passionately advocated their stance outside Congress. The Catholic Church, the major opponent of same sex marriage, organized tens of thousands of people for opposition demonstrations on Tuesday, reports the New York Times. The prevalence of Roman Catholicism in Argentina heated the gay marriage debate, pitting President Fernandez against the Church.
President Fernandez, however, stood firm in her support of the law, saying after the vote, “I am very satisfied; it has been a positive vote.” She continued, “This is a positive step that defends the right of a minority,” reports Time. A recent opinion poll indicates that 60 percent of Argentines join Fernandez in her support of gay marriage.
Argentina now joins Belgium, Canada, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden as the tenth country to legalize gay marriage.