Today in Latin America
Top Story — Argentina’s Senate is set to decide on whether or not to legalize gay marriage, after thousands of people protested in the capital against the bill.
The proposed bill has split the Senate and created a divide between the country’s Roman Catholic Church and the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who supports the bill.
“They are portraying this as a religious moral issue and as a threat to ‘the natural order,’ when what we are really doing is looking at a reality that is already there,” Fernández de Kirchner said, according to The New York Times. “It would be a terrible distortion of democracy if they denied minorities their rights.”
Polls in the country show that nearly 70 percent of the population support giving gay couples the same marital rights as heterosexuals.
However, on Tuesday night tens of thousands of people protested outside of Argentina’s congress in the capital of Buenos Aires against the bill.
“In the name of modernizing human rights, what this bill actually does is produce a major step backwards for humanity,” said Roman Catholic Bishop Antonio Marino, according to The CBC.
Throughout Buenos Aires and in various cities throughout Argentina, those in favor of the bill also came out to protest, as there has recently been a number of gay marriages in Argentina that were annulled by the Supreme Court.
“Same-sex families already exist, gay families already exist, so the task that they (the senate) will have… is to legalize the situation of all those families,” said one protester, according to The BBC.
If the bill passes through Argentina’s senate, it will join Mexico City as one of the few place in Latin American that allows gay couples to wed.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- John Morton, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an interview that other states should not follow the lead of Arizona and enact strict new immigration laws.
- Shipments of the 2011 Mexican-made Ford Fiesta have been delayed by 10 days to 2 weeks due to damged rail lines caused by recent storms.
- Less than two percent of the billions of dollars promised to Haiti by foreign governments to aid recovery from the Jan. 12 earthquake has reached the country.
- Police superintendant José Figueroa Sancha announced Wednesday that Puerto Rico has made 48 arrests in a recent anti-drug operation.
- A 22 year-old suspect has been charged for the shooting of a Puerto Rican teenager who was visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- Union leaders in Panama City called a week-long strike to support banana workers in the western city of Changinuola a success.
- Honduran Security Minister declared a state of emergency in Honduran prisons due to overcrowding.
- The former Italian consul of Honduras died of dengue fever in Tegucigalpa on Sunday.
- Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen will arrive in Curação following accusations by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez that pilots from the Dutch islands are violating Venezuela’s sovereign airspace.
- Three suspected Colombian drug traffickers were extradited to the United States from Venezuela Wednesday.
- Peru signed a $4 billion trade agreement with Switzerland, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, according to the Peruvian Trade Minister.
- Bolivian President Evo Morales’ new Dassault Falcon 900EX jet has been grounded due to a lack of qualified pilots able to fly it.
- An increasing number of Cuban immigrants have been settling in Ecuador since the country lifted visa restrictions in 2008.
- Spanking children may be outlawed in Brazil if a bill sent to the Senate Wednesday by President Lula da Silva is approved.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner failed to convince Chinese President Hu Jintao to lift a ban on soybean imports from Argentina that has been in effect since April.
- A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Chile Wednesday, hitting the southern region of Bio Bio but causing no damage.
- Huge crowds cheered on the Uruguayan national soccer team as it returned to Montevideo following a fourth-place World Cup finish.
Image: Globovisión @ Flickr.