BUENOS AIRES -- Argentina's Senate narrowly approved a law early on Thursday authorizing same-sex marriages, making Argentina the first country in Latin America to allow gay couples to wed.
But in a region where the separation of church and state is not always so clear, the law demonstrated a rare but increasing willingness by some Latin American nations to confront the church on fundamental issues, like Chile's legalization of divorce and Brazil's public distribution of contraceptives in recent years.
"There is no question that the law is unusual for a country that is not as secular as Western European democracies," said Javier Corrales, a political science professor at Amherst College. "There's a clear conflict with the church. Very seldom do we see presidents willing to fight the church so strongly on this particular issue in Latin America," even in countries led by left-leaning governments.
Argentina's new law will give gay people the same marital rights as heterosexuals, including adoption and inheritance rights, and reflects the broadening legal recognition of same-sex relationships across Latin America.
Look how far the Catholic school boys in Buenos Aires have come!