First gay marriage in Argentina

Last Updated: Fri, Jul 30, 2010 18:20 hrs

/EFE) An actor and his agent sealed Friday their 30-year relationship and many years of struggle to have their rights acknowledged as they became the first same-sex couple to be married under Argentine law.

Ernesto Larrese, the actor, and Alejandro Vannelli, who have a daughter and two grandchildren, exchanged 'I dos' at a crowded ceremony held at a Buenos Aires registry office.

A large contingent of the gay community attended the ceremony, along with family members, many journalists and famous actors including Mercedes Moran, Gerardo Romano and Boy Olmi, who acted as witnesses together with the couple's sisters.

The couple, who have been together for 34 years, were originally going to have to wait their turn until Aug 13 to get married, but in recognition of their long fight, the registry office allowed the occasion to be brought forward so this could be the first same-sex wedding since the law was passed, the first of its kind in Latin America.

'I'm so moved. It's such a wonderful moment. I only have words of gratitude,' Vannelli, 61, said, unable to keep back the tears.

'I'm telling all homophobes to take it easy, nothing's going to happen to harm them, they have nothing to fear. Any phobia can be cured with love. And what is coming is more love, more equality, and that can't be anything but positive,' Larrese said.

The wedded couple, both activists in the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgenders, chose to formalise their bond at the same registry office that rejected their application three years ago, which led them to file an appeal that reached the Supreme Court.