Same sex marriage is a controversial topic in Latin America, a continent widely regarded as machista.
Yet on 10th November, Alex Freyre and José María Di Bello were granted a marriage license in Buenos Aires, breaking ground in a country and region where laws ban same sex matrimony. Judge Gabriela Seijas declared such laws to be unconstitutional.
However plans for the ceremony were halted when Judge Marta Gomez Alsina filed an injunction to suspend the union until the issue could be further reviewed by Argentina’s supreme court.
Although celebrated by many, the initial decision to authorise the union also provoked some furious reactions amongst members of the Catholic church and conservative establishments in the country.
The Argentina Independent set out to investigate public attitudes in Buenos Aires towards the prospect of Latin America’s first same sex marriage.
Antonio, 64, Bus inspector, Buenos Aires
I personally believe that if a law were passed legalising gay marriage, it would be terrific. It’s an improvement for everyone, because homosexuality exists everywhere. I don’t see how we can ignore this. What may be an issue is that the church plays a fundamental role here in Argentina, and there are people within the church who can’t come to terms with the idea. They present a strong opposition. But we have to accept that there are gay Christians too, and I think that approving their union demonstrates great progress.
Lidia, 46, ICT consultant, Peru
In my opinion, gay marriage is completely negative; it’s not right at all. God made man in his own image, before creating woman both from and for man. That is the only correct partnership. In the eyes of God it is wrong to be a man with a man, or a woman with a woman. I would very much question the government’s decision to pass this law. It’s bad and it worries me. I believe, quite simply, that the government should do the right thing, as God intends.
Damian, 24, Builder, Buenos Aires
It seems completely normal to me. I see no problem if two people of the same sex want to wed. There is, however, a certain machismo in Argentine society, and this is what generates opposing, homophobic attitudes. I think the approval of the first gay marriage is a great thing. It shows we’re moving forwards, and reflects well on the attitudes of acceptance in this society. Perhaps if matrimony were legal, people would better understand and accept homosexual relationships.
Mercedes, 83, Retired, Córdoba
At my age, this is quite a difficult topic; and given the way I was brought up, I question it a bit. But I am open-minded, and in principle think it’s right. It certainly seems logical. There is a point in relationships when marriage is the next, natural step. I see no reason why couples should face discrimination for being homosexual. However, the issue of children is problematic. A child needs both a mother and a father figure. Although I consider myself forward-thinking, I can’t see how this can be overcome.
Patricio, 19, Student, Buenos Aires
If gay people want to get married, let them get married. People should be able to do what they want. The only exception to this is if they want to adopt a kid. Then I think it’s bad. It’s not natural, and the child grows up with a completely different perspective of men and women, of its parents, of everything. It’s not normal – in my view, anyway. At the moment, I think that the situation is pretty good with regards to homosexuality in Argentina. It certainly doesn’t bother me.
Photos by Thomas Locke Hobbs