Southern Cone: marchers call for marriage equality

This year Pride celebrations, held on the last weekend in June in much of the world, coincided with a debate in Argentina over proposed legislation that would make the country the first in Latin America to authorize same-sex marriages. On June 28, hundreds of supporters of the legislation marched in front of the Congress building in Buenos Aires in a demonstration organized by the Argentine LGBT Federation and supported by about a dozen social groups and cultural figures, including singers Fito Páez and Vicentico, who were to hold a recital at the end of the march.

The Chamber of Deputies approved the marriage equality law on May 5 by a 126-109 vote with five abstentions; organizers hope to have the support of 38 of the 72 senators when the measure goes before the Senate on July 14. Supporters of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner back the law; the Catholic Church is strongly opposed and is pushing for a referendum on the issue. Seven same-sex couples have been married in Argentina since December because of rulings by individual judges. (La República, Peru, June 28 from AP; AFP, June 29 via Prensa Gráfica, El Salvador)

LGBT organizers in Chile have been focusing on developing Pride events in regional capitals. This year in addition to a march in Santiago on June 26, there were Pride marches in Puerto Montt and Valdivia in the south and Calama and La Serena in the north. The largest of the regional events was the July 1 march in La Serena, which drew some 7,000 participants, 2,000 more than the year before. (Movimiento Chileno de Minorias Sexuales, Chile, July 2; Opus Gay, Chile, July 2)

Many think the largest Pride event in the world is the annual parade in São Paulo, Brazil. Organizers said 3.2 million attended this year’s event, held on June 6. During the week before the parade, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva issued a decree declaring May 17 the National Day to Combat Homophobia. The decree, which became official when it was published in the government gazette on June 7, met one of the demands made by Brazilian LGBT organizations. Presidential elections are scheduled for Oct. 3, and the decree is expected to win LGBT votes for Dilma Vana Rousseff, the candidate of Lula’s leftist Workers Party (PT). May 17 marks the day in 1990 when the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases. (W Radio, Mexico, June 7 from unidentified wire services; EFE, July 7 via, Chile)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 4.

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