BUENOS AIRES, Argentina Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America give gays and lesbians all the legal rights that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.
After a marathon debate that lasted more than 16 hours, the vote was 33 in favor, 27 against and 3 abstentions in Argentina's Senate. Since the lower house already approved the bill and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, it now becomes the law of the land.
The bill passed despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to a march on Congress earlier this week.
As debate dragged into the wee hours, supporters and opponents held rival vigils throughout the frigid night outside the Congress building in Buenos Aires.
"Marriage between a man and a woman has existed for centuries, and is essential for the perpetuation of the species," insisted Sen. Juan Perez Alsina, usually a loyal supporter of the president who gave a passionate speech against gay marriage.
Incidentally, Argentina still allows heterosexual marriages despite the equality bestowed upon its gay citizens, including both the right to adopt children and inherit wealth.
Funny how that works. Read the full report here.