By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com July 15 2010 3:35 AM ET
In a debate that lasted well into the early hours of Thursday morning, Argentina's senate voted 33-27 to make theirs the first country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage.
Gay rights activists had predicted a close vote. According to reports, debate in Buenos Aires lasted until 4 a.m.
The subject of marriage has been a hot-button issue in Argentina for the past several months. In December, José Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre became the country's first legally married same-sex couple because of a legal loophole.
Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson issued the following statement early Tuesday morning: "Today's historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come — from dictatorship to true democratic values — and how far the freedom-to-marry movement has come as 12 countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality. Argentina's vote for the freedom to marry marks an important advance for fairness and family values as more couples around the world will now share in marriage, with families helped and no one hurt. Today's vote adds momentum to the international movement to secure the freedom to marry for all loving and committed couples.
"Key to Argentina's human rights achievement was strong leadership from legislators and the president. It is time we see more of our own elected officials standing up for the Constitution and all families here in the United States. America should lead, not lag, when it comes to treating everyone equally under the law."