They had to travel to the ends of the Earth to do it, but two Argentine men succeeded in becoming Latin America’s first same-sex married couple.
After their first attempt to wed earlier this month in Buenos Aires was thwarted, gay rights activists Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre took their civil ceremony to the capital of Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego province, where a sympathetic governor backed their bid to make Latin American history.
The couple exchanged rings on Monday in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, closer to Antarctica than Buenos Aires.
"My knees didn’t stop shaking," said Di Bello. "We are the first gay couple in Latin America to marry."
Di Bello, 41, an executive at the Argentine Red Cross, met Freyre, 39, executive director of the Buenos Aires AIDS Foundation, at an HIV awareness conference. Both men are HIV-positive.
At the indoor civil ceremony, the grooms wore sport coats without ties, and had large red ribbons draped around their necks in solidarity with other people living with HIV.
Argentina’s Constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to provincial and city officials. The men tried to get married in Argentina’s capital but city officials, who had earlier said the ceremony could proceed, refused to wed them citing conflicting judicial rulings.
Di Bello said authorities initially declined to authorize the marriage, but went ahead after the couple received backing from Tierra del Fuego province.
Many in Argentina and throughout Latin America remain opposed to gay marriage, particularly the Roman Catholic Church.
But same-sex civil unions have been legalized in Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and some states in Mexico and Brazil. Marriage generally carries more exclusive rights such as adopting children, inheriting wealth and enabling a partner to gain citizenship.
Only seven countries in the world allow gay marriages: Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium.
the ends of the Earth：天涯海角
thwart：to oppose successfully; prevent from accomplishing a purpose（反对，阻碍）
drape：to hang, fall, or become arranged in folds, as drapery（悬挂，装饰）