Marriage Bill Signed in Buenos Aires

By Advocate Contributors

Originally published on Advocate.com July 21 2010 7:55 PM ET

Within the halls of the 19th-century Casa Rosada, or Pink House, Argentinian president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on Wednesday signed into law South America's first same-sex marriage bill.

Hundreds crowded the streets outside Buenos Aires's Casa Rosada to show their support for the bill, which the Argentinean legislature passed on July 15. Within the Hall of Science, 150 people — including Fernandez’s husband and former president Nestor Kirchner — crammed into a room to watch the president sign the legislation. The room, and a spillover room, erupted into applause following the signature and it was announced that marriage equality was now the law of the land.

Fernandez then spoke to the ebullient crowd. She stated that by signing this law the government is granting marriage equality to a group that deserves rights granted to them, not taken away. Change and progress are a good thing, Fernandez added, saying that once Argentina’s senators debated allowing divorce. Finally, the president pointed out the symbolism of signing the bill within the Hall of Science, saying it demonstrates that enlightenment trumped suspicion and fear.

Those opposed to the marriage equality legislation were mostly absent from the proceedings. -Reporting by Ed Salvato