This week, two men in Argentina became the first same-sex married couple in Latin America.
The gay rights activists from Buenos Aires were married in Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego state.
Argentina’s constitution does not define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, allowing local officials some flexibility. A bill to legalize gay marriage nationwide is now stalled in Argentina’s Congress.
Only seven countries in the world permit gay marriage to be performed, although recognition of civil unions exists in some nations. Gay couples still face persecution — and even the death penalty — in many countries:
The Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Norway, Sweden and South Africa recognize same-sex marriage.
In the United States, there are four states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont) where gay couples can currently marry. In 2010, Washington D.C. and New Hampshire will start allowing same-sex marriage.
Civil unions or registered partnerships offer same-sex couples some of the legal benefits of marriage. Nonetheless, many couples find these insufficient and believe that they are entitled to gender-neutral marriage.
– Michael Ramirez
See more Worldfocus coverage on Homosexuality Around the World.