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Gay and lesbian foreigners may soon be allowed to marry in Buenos Aires, Argentina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Since July 2010, same-sex marriage has been granted legal status in Argentina, but the LGBT community and travel industry want this to be extended to gay and lesbian tourist couples visiting the country.

Buenos Aires is well-known as a top destination for gay tourists, and in the Province of Santa Fe, restrictions have been eased to facilitate such marriages within less than a week’s residency.

Recently, Paraguayan citizens, Simón Cazal, 31, and Sergio Lopez, 18, became the first foreign homosexual couple to get married in Argentina. The ceremony took place during March 2012 in the city of Rosario – 300 kms northwest of Buenos Aires -- the only place currently where no residency is required for marriage between same-sex couples.

Some changes are afoot in Buenos Aires to allow gay and lesbian tourists to marry in the city. Ahead of earlier promises from Argentina's federal government to amend the Same-Sex Marriage Act to include LGBT visitors, Buenos Aires City lawmaker María Rachid introduced a draft bill in the City Legislature on Tuesday, April 3, looking to allow foreign gay couples to marry in Buenos Aires without the need of a local address.

Rachid’s initiative argues that Article 20 in the Argentine Constitution establishes that “while on Argentine territory, all foreigners are protected by the citizens’ civil rights … they can make up their will and get married in accordance to the law.”

Also, Rachid explained that the goal is to “put what the Constitution says into practice, since we can’t keep foreigners from a constitutional warranty such as marriage, by asking them, as the City’s Civil Registry demands, that at least one of the spouses have a DNI national identity card.”

“No inferior regulations nor internal resolutions can damage the essence of this right, which is guaranteed” by the Constitution, Rachid said.

The proposed bill suggests that non-resident gay and lesbian couples will only be asked to present the authorities with a photocopy of their passport with an entry stamp, temporary address and duration of their visit to Argentina.

No time estimate is available as to when the new bill may be passed into law.

This comes as welcome news to the LGBT travel industry in this very gay-friendly metropolis of Buenos Aires.

Roy Heale, a freelance writer who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is SDGLN's South America contributor. He writes about LGBT issues from the Latin American continent. To read more stories by Roy Heale, visit his website.