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News: World

Fri 16 Apr, 2010
By Sam Bristowe

We are married and are confident that the Supreme Court will prove us right

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Judge voids first Latin Amercia gay marriage

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A judge in Argentina has annulled the first gay marriage in Latin America, state media said Thursday, but the two men in the groundbreaking union said they would appeal the decision.

Judge Marcos Mellien, in the southern city of Ushuaia where the wedding took place last December, ruled the marriage "non-existent," the Telam news agency said quoting a judicial source.

The judge cited an article in Argentina's civil code which forbids marriage between two people of the same sex, according to the agency.

One of the spouses in the contested union, Alex Freyre, described the decision as "a failure of a judge who has no value, because we will appeal.

"We are married and are confident that the Supreme Court will prove us right," he told AFP.

Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria De Bello, 41, last December obtained permission to marry from the Tierra del Fuego government in Ushuaia -- the world's southernmost city -- after a Buenos Aires judge annulled another judge's decision to allow the marriage in the Argentine capital.

The couple's lawyer, Carolina von Opiela, said she was "absolutely convinced that (Freyre and Di Bello) are married," confirming the pair will appeal the ruling, taking it to an international court or forum if necessary.

Two other gay marriages have been carried out in recent months in Argentina following court appeals.

Parts of Argentina allow same-sex civil unions, which provide some of the rights granted to married couples, but there is no gay marriage law on the books.

Until now, no Latin American country has formally recognized gay marriages, although Mexico City's legislature has approved them. In Argentina, local authorities had approved the legal proceedings in the three cases ahead of possible legislative action.

Proposals to change Argentina's civil code to allow gay marriage have been debated since last year.

On Thursday, a committee of the lower Chamber of Deputies recommended a same-sex marriage bill be put forward for consideration by the full chamber in coming weeks.

Source: AFP


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