They may not have reached the final in the world cup, but Argentina are scoring goals in the equality stakes by becoming the first South American country to legalise marriage for same-sex couples.
Evan Wolfson, from US organisation Freedom to Marry made the point of the journey Argentina has taken, both religiously and politically:
Today’s historic vote shows how far Catholic Argentina has come, from dictatorship to true democratic values, and how far the freedom to marry movement has come as twelve countries on four continents now embrace marriage equality.
Despite a protest organised by evangelical Christians and right wing Catholic groups that drew a whopping 60,000 protestors to a march on Congress the night before the vote, marriage was opened up to same sex couples by a Senate majority of 33-27 this morning.
Same-sex civil unions have been legalised in Uruguay, Buenos Aires and some states in Mexico and Brazil. Mexico City has legalised gay marriage. Colombia’s Constitutional Court granted same-sex couples inheritance rights and allowed them to add their partners to health insurance plans.
Argentina however – firmly supported by its president – has lead the way for the fight for full marriage rights for same-sex couples in South America. The new law broadly declares that “marriage provides for the same requisites and effects independent of whether the contracting parties are of the same or different sex.”
Well done Argentina – I hope our politicians here in Ireland are taking note!