A crowd of several thousand people gathered in the Argentinian capital city of Buenos Aires Saturday, marching in celebration of the country’s status as the first Latino nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
According to Esteban Paulo, president of the Argentine LGBT Equality Rights Federation based in Buenos Aires, more than 500 same sex-couples have been married as a result of passage of the law and signature, which was signed by the country’s President Cristina Fernandez on July 21.
Pablo De Luca, who founded the Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in the city, notes that the law’s passage prompted a significant increase in LGBT tourism estimating that over 100,000 LGBT persons have visited since July.
“It’s the same kind of increase that happened in South Africa, Canada, and Madrid after they legalized gay marriage,” De Luca said. “We want to travel to a country where we don’t feel like we have to hide our sexuality.”
Canadian Press Foreign Correspondent Armando Montano notes in a recent dispatch:
“Gay and lesbian couples still face discrimination — some civil servants have been unwilling to sign their marriage licenses, and the judicial system has been slow to approve adoptions by same-sex couples even though the law now grants them all the rights heterosexual married couples enjoy. Argentina’s dominant Roman Catholic Church remains opposed.”
Organizers of Argentine Pride gave Saturday’s parade the theme of “Let’s Go For More,” a nod at the need to lobby the Congreso Nacional, the country’s legislative body, to pass a gender identity law which would enable Transgendered Argentinians to change their gender on official state documents such as birth certificates and identity cards.
Neighboring Uruguay had passed a similar law in 2009, but Transgender Argentinians have no such recourse and often have trouble when dealing with the government using documents that no longer match their expressed gender.