Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

SAME SEX: Rights to get married

Some of the region’s most progressive laws have been passed in Argentina and Mexico, but the struggle for gay rights in Latin America is an uphill climb.

“To marry or not to marry?” For Latin America’s gays and lesbians this is not the existential dilemma that it is for most heterosexual couples. It is the object of an intense political struggle waged country by country. With some notable exceptions, same-sex couples across the region cannot enjoy conjugal or parental rights.

At the same time, homosexuality is not illegal in any country in Latin America except Guyana. In Cuba, the legal status of lesbians and gays is somewhat ambiguous. This situates the region somewhere in the middle ground of global attitudes—more liberal than Africa and Asia, but much less tolerant than Europe. But for those facing discrimination, that is small comfort.

Some of the region’s most enlightened laws for lesbians and gays have been passed in Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico. The Civil Union Law 1004 passed by the city of Buenos Aires in December 2002 guarantees all couples, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, the right to register their unions with the Public Registry for Civil Unions. To qualify, applicants must prove that they are a resident of Buenos Aires and have been involved in a stable and public relationship for at least two years, or they must have children together. Farther south, authorities in the Patagonian province of Rio Negro extended in April 2003 the same rights and obligations to same-sex couples already enjoyed by heterosexual couples…


Tags: Argentina, Civil Union Law 1004, Coahuila, Cohabitation Law of Mexico City, Decree 209, Gay, Latin America, LGBT, Mexico, Rio Negro, same-sex couples, Uruguay
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