Sí, quiero: The Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina
Beckner, M. Linley B.
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On July 15, 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country and only the tenth nation worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage at the national level. Situated in a region known for the influence of Catholicism, the macho man’s domination of gender and sexuality norms, and massive human rights violations, Argentina seems an unlikely candidate after States like Canada and Norway. Therefore, what made Argentina’s legalization of same-sex marriage possible? This project breaks down the analysis of this question into four parts: first, the historical events that opened pathways through which sexual minorities could and can attain change; second, the Argentine cultural and social contexts and the opportunities and challenges they presented and present to sexual minorities; third, the creation and development of a social movement by sexual minorities; and fourth, how the excluded become the included through the nondiscrimination inherent in human rights. Along with this analysis of the past and present, the project also explores how the legalization of same-sex marriage can serve as a gateway to the recognition of other rights of sexual minorities in Argentina, as well as a case study for sexual minorities’ rights efforts in other countries. This study is based on primary (personal interviews conducted in Buenos Aires, Argentina) and secondary sources. The primary sources include information, ideas, and opinions of various Argentine sexual minorities organizations obtained through interviews with Argentine organizations working for the rights of sexual minorities. The secondary sources include publications from several disciplines and discourses including international human rights theory and gender studies. This project discovers the conditions that were necessary for Argentina to create and achieve change such as the legalization of same-sex marriage by determining the key components of success. First, historical events instilled in the Argentine nation a prioritization of human rights. Second, the norms of Argentine culture and society were such that sexual minorities could challenge existing systems and practices to expose existing conditions in which gender and sexuality are in fact open to interpretation and variation. Third, gay rights were put on the human rights agenda and opportunity arose. Finally, with Law 26.618, the Argentine nation included previously excluded same-sex couples in the rights of marriage, adoption, and inheritance. The legalization of same-sex marriage was an important expression to the country’s stance on human rights and the preservation of its democracy. For sexual minorities’ rights movements worldwide, this case study can provide valuable insight into the conditions necessary to attain marriage equality. The Argentine example can offer hope as well as the tools of success. In a world where gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans people face discrimination at a local, national, regional, and international level, this understanding is necessary. Human rights are the rights one has because one is human; if any human is denied those rights, it threatens the existence of “human” rights for everyone. Therefore, knowledge of how to keep moving toward the equal recognition of the rights of sexual minorities is essential to human rights for all.