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Argentina's senate will vote on a marriage equality bill Wednesday as religious opposition heats up. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has said she would sign the bill, which already passed the lower chamber of the legislature.
According to The New York Times, "If the Senate votes for the bill, approved by the lower house of congress in May, Argentina would become the first country in Latin America to allow same-sex marriages, affording all rights of heterosexual unions. Mexico City became the first jurisdiction in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriages in December. Two other countries in the region, Uruguay and Colombia, allow civil unions for gay couples."
The Roman Catholic Church staged large protests around the bill Sunday. The Times reports that President Kirchner has criticized the Church for its inability to adjust to the modern reality in Argentina, where her supporters cite polls showing that the overwhelming majority of citizens support marriage equality. Other critics question the timing of the bill and say that the president and her husband, Nestor Kirchner, are trying to solidify power ahead of his presidential run. Nestor Kirchner, now a congressman leading the charge on marriage equality, served as president from 2003 to 2007.
Marriage equality also is the subject of a supreme court case yet to be decided in Argentina.