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Couple Together 27 Years Inaugurate Argentine Gay Marriage

in ARGENTINA, 02/08/2010

A male couple together for 27 years were the first to marry in Argentina under a new law legalizing gay marriage.

Architect Juan Carlos Navarro, 54, married his partner Miguel Angel Calefato, 65, in a ceremony that took place Friday at 7:30AM in provincial Santiago del Estero.

“Respect has prevailed over prejudice,” Navarro told daily El Liberal.

He said the men shared an instant connection when they met nearly three decades ago while vacationing on a beach resort.

The Navarro-Calefato wedding was poised to make history after it leapfrogged ahead of another couple set to marry in Mendoza on Saturday.

Navarro said the couple was not driven by being first, but only wanted to be legally married.

Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed the law on July 21. Lawmakers approved the law over the strong objections of the Roman Catholic church; one cardinal called the movement to legalize such unions the devil's handiwork. Some judges have protested marrying gay couples.

Lawmakers also considered a civil unions bill, but opted instead to give wedded gay and lesbian couples all the same legal rights as their heterosexual counterparts, including the right to jointly adopt children.

A gay marriage bill recently approved by lawmakers in Portugal does not include the right to adopt.

Since the law's enactment, Chile and Peru have announced plans to debate recognition of gay unions, and Uruguay and Paraguay will consider gay marriage legislation. Gay marriage is also legal in Mexico City, but federal officials are challenging the law in court.

About two hours after the Navarro-Calefato wedding a second gay couple married in Buenos Aires.

Alejandro Vanelli and Ernesto Larresse tied the knot Friday after 34 years of partnership. The couple had previously attempted to marry twice but had been denied.

Vanelli, 61, is an agent who represents over 200 actors, while Larresse, 60, is an actor.

“I have only words of gratitude,” an emotional Vanelli said.

The marriage was witnessed by actors Mercedes Moran, Boy Olmi and Gerardo Romano.

Olmi said he was proud to be part of the historic wedding.

The weddings were the first of many expected in coming weeks. At least three additional gay couples are expected to marry in Argentina on Saturday.


 

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