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Page last updated at 05:12 GMT, Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Argentine gay couple becomes first in region to marry

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Alejandro Freyre and Jose Maria Di Bello tie the knot in a civil ceremony

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

Alejandro Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, tied the knot in a civil ceremony in the southern city of Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego province.

Gay marriage is illegal in Argentina. However, the Tierra del Fuego governor issued a special decree allowing the couple to wed there.

Roman Catholic leaders in the country expressed alarm at the move.

A judge in the capital, Buenos Aires, prevented the couple from marrying there earlier this month.

Church anger

The men, who are both HIV-positive, had planned to get married on 1 December, World Aids day.

Map

They eventually travelled to Tierra del Fuego, where they received the support of provincial governor Fabiana Rios.

Although Argentina's civil code bans gay marriage, the constitution is silent on the matter.

Correspondents say Ms Rios 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".

After Monday's ceremony Mr di Bello said: "We're extremely excited and happy about what this means for all gays and lesbians in Argentina."

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

Other Catholic leaders have argued that civil union, which is legal in four Argentine cities, should be sufficient.

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



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SEE ALSO
Argentine judge stops gay wedding
30 Nov 09 |  Americas
Uruguay allows same-sex adoption
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Uruguay approves gay civil unions
19 Dec 07 |  Americas
Peru to ban gay police officers
14 May 09 |  Americas
Gay Latinos 'minority twice over'
29 Apr 08 |  Americas

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
News24.com Gay marriage in Argentina a 1st - 26 hrs ago
IOL Latin America's first gay marriage - 31 hrs ago
SINA Gay marriage in Argentina is 1st in Latin America - 31 hrs ago
Times Live South Africa Latin America celebrates first gay marriage - 32 hrs ago
Salon Argentina has 1st gay marriage in Latin America - 36 hrs ago



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