Argentina commemorated the 10th anniversary of its landmark Marriage Equality Law on Wednesday, a move which set a groundbreaking precedent for Latin America.
Since its passage into law on July 15, 2010, a total of 20,244 same-sex marriages have been celebrated in the country, said the Argentine LGBT Federation (Federación Argentina LGBT), one of the main promoters of the legislation that ran under the slogan: "The same rights with the same names."
In the capital, monuments, landmarks and famous sites across the city were illuminated with rainbow colours on Tuesday night, a move that will be repeated from sunset this evening.
Annual celebrations of the move will, for the first time, be held virtually in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its accompanying lockdown in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA). The region, home to some 14 million people, is the epicentre of Covid-19 in Argentina, with more than 90 percent of all cases registered there. To date more than 106,000 confirmed cases have been recorded, with the death toll now 1,968.
The focal (online) point for celebrations will be a virtual festival broadcast on the Facebook page of the Federación Argentina LGBT. More than a dozen artists, including musicians and singer-songwriters León Gieco, Pedro Aznar and Gustavo Santaolalla, will participate.
"Today we are proud of militancy in visibility," the federation said in a statement, hailing progress made over the last decade.
"Ten years ago it was not easy to put your face and body in places where violence and hatred were common," said the organisation.
This law was followed in 2011 by Argentina's Gender Identity Law, which allows individuals to choose their gender on their DNI identification cad.
Also, since 2012, a law has been in place that sets a punishment of life imprisonment for any man "who kills a woman or a person who perceives themselves with a female gender identity."
In 2018, a ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights urged the countries of the region to recognise gay marriage with full rights, which includes property, adoption, access to health and widowhood pension, among others.
In Latin America, in addition to Argentina, equal marriage is legal in Uruguay and Brazil (2013), Colombia (2016) and a part of Mexico (2009 onwards).
Speaking Tuesday evening, Legal and Technical Secretary Vilmar Ibarra – who played a key role in drafting the legislation – said Argentina's landmark marriage equality law had changed the country for the better.
"In Argentine society we have a population that is very attentive to rights and we waged a very beautiful battle that does not harm anyone. That law recognised rights that had been denied to many people for a long time," she said.