First gay couples wed as Argentina gay marriage law takes effect

Gay couples rushed to tie the knot in Argentina on Friday, two weeks after the country became the first in Latin America to grant them the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples.

Calefato (left), and Navarro

Miguel Angel Calefato, 65, and Jose Luis Navarro, 54, became the first gay couple to marry in Argentina under the new law legalizing same-sex marriages.

The couple, together more than 27 years, married in the province Santiago del Estero in an early morning ceremony where a civil registry official used a pen to cross out “man and woman” on the marriage license and wrote in “contracting parties.”

Another gay couple married in Buenos Aires an hour later, and many more gay marriages are scheduled for the weekend, including one between two men serving time in prison.

Argentina became the first country in Latin America to permit gay marriage after President Cristina Fernandez signed the law July 21. The legislation was passed by both houses of Congress despite fierce opposition from the Roman Catholic Church.

The new law amends the phrase “husband and wife” to “contracting parties” in Argentina’s Civil Code. It also extends equal rights to homosexual couples in matters having to do with adoption, inheritance and social benefits.

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