By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman 

BUENOS AIRES, November 2, 2007 ( – A civil appeals court in Argentina has ruled against a homosexual couple asserting a “right” to marry each other, stating that “the standard that establishes that matrimony should be celebrated between people of different sexes has an absolutely objective and reasonable justification, which consists in the interest of the government in granting a privilege to unions that tend to continue the species.”

  The ruling, which was announced on October 31st, represents the second appeal struck down in an ongoing suit by the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and Transsexuals (FALGBT) on behalf of two homosexual couples, one of which consists of the artist Alejandro Vanelli and actor Ernesto Larrese. They are the first such cases in Argentine history.

  The plaintiffs argue that Argentina’s civil code, in particular articles 172 and 188, is “unconstitutional” because it is “discriminatory” and violates “equality under the law”. Article 172 states that “The full and free consent expressed personally by a man and woman before the competent authority to celebrate it, is indispensable for the existence of marriage. The act that lacks any of these requirements will not produce civil effects…”  Article 188 requires the couple to register as “husband and wife”.

  The plaintiffs also claim that Argentina is bound by international treaties to respect their “right of equality”, which they argue translates to the “right” to “marry” someone of the same sex.

  But Argentina’s judiciary has consistently disagreed, basing itself on the very nature of human sexuality as a procreative act. They repeated this reasoning in their latest ruling. “Stable homosexual cohabitation corresponds, as a personal decision for each one, to an option that is carried out in the sphere of intimacy,” wrote the judges of the Civil Chamber Court F. “But marriage transcends the sphere of intimacy. The refusal to consider unions between people of the same sex as matrimony exceeds an exclusively sexual perspective.”

  Civil court judge María Bacigalupo’s initial ruling in one of the cases was even more scathing. “To affirm that the union of two homosexual persons should be considered matrimony, is to completely devalue the concept of the institution,” she wrote. “Matrimony is and has been the institution that protects the heterosexual union from which will be born new members, children, so that society is not extinguished and so continues the course of life.”

  In the face of their latest defeat, FALGBT president Maria Rachid promised to continue the appeals process to the nation’s Supreme Court. “We were expecting this to happen,” she said. “There are very conservative judges, some of them have participated in the dictatorship (of the 1970s), and their thinking is very homophobic.  But we trust in the Supreme Court, where we will elevate this petition for matrimony, because it is a right that the government owes us.”

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