07.15.2010 8:50am EDT
(Buenos Aires) Argentina legalized same-sex marriage Thursday, becoming the first country in Latin America to grant gays and lesbians all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples.
After a marathon debate, 33 lawmakers voted in favor, 27 were against it and 3 abstained in Argentina’s Senate in a vote that ended after 4 a.m. Since the lower house already approved it, and President Cristina Fernandez is a strong supporter, it now becomes law as soon as it is published in the official bulletin.
The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have increasingly found Buenos Aires to be more accepting than many other places in the region.
The approval came despite a concerted campaign by the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical groups, which drew 60,000 people to march on Congress and urged parents in churches and schools to work against passage.
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