A same-sex couple living in Colombia will be the first tourists in Argentina to take advantage of the recent law allowing visitors to get married in the country regardless of sex, sexual orientation and gender identification.
Colombian Oswaldo Antonio Ruiz and Spanish citizen Jose Manuel Gutierrez met online and after three months of email exchanges and online chats, Gutierrez decided to leave Spain and join Ruiz in Medellin.
The couple already has a formal union recognized by the Colombian state, but because the country does not allow same-sex marriage, they had to look elsewhere.
“When we found out that in Buenos Aires we would be able to get married without so many complications, we didn’t doubt it for a minute. In less than 20 days, we planned a trip to Argentina,” said Ruiz. “I never imagined I would be able to fulfill this dream,” he added.
Although Spain is one of the countries that allow marriage between same-sex couples, Ruiz did not meet the legal residency required.
Ruiz and Gutierrez plan on re-validating their marriage in the Spanish Embassy after the ceremony in Buenos Aires because unlike Colombia, Spain considers foreign same-sex marriages valid.
As of March 2012, Argentina is the only country of the eleven in the world that have legalized same-sex marriage to allow gay tourist couples to get married during their visit.
While Colombia’s congress has until 2013 to pass legislation on gay marriage, Argentina approved the bill in 2010. The six proposals to recognize gay marriage have all been rejected in the Colombian Congress.
“At a time when it is indispensable to consolidate the progress in LGBT rights, and equal marriage has been imposed in the political agenda of many countries, it is fundamental that from Argentina, we continue exporting equality and rights for citizens of countries that have not yet been established,” said Esteban Paulon, president of the LGBT Argentine Federation.