When I was 16, my mom told me she'd take me to see the show "Evita" if I learned a little about Eva Perón. I did. In fact, I became obsessed with 1940s Argentina, playing the eight track cassette my parents bought me until it wore out... not before they threatened to throw it in the trash after having to hear it every afternoon when I returned from school.
A few years ago, my mom remarked that I never fell victim to stereotypical gay diva worship. I replied "um... Evita?" "Well, that's not the same," she said. "You loved history." Well, yeah, and I still do, but somehow I never got as excited about Catherine the Great.
Argentina leads the world in psychiatrists, beef consumption and hair dressers per capita, and of course gave us a Dior-clad quasi-fascist dictator's wife as a gay icon. Now Argentines can be proud that they're leading the world -- especially Latin America -- in a new direction, as the first country south of Canada to offer gay and lesbian couples the full rights of marriage. The Argentine Senate passed a bill legalizing marriage equality -- with full adoption rights, something that even much of supposedly liberal Europe doesn't allow -- early this morning after a bruising wee-hours debate.
Not surprisingly, the Roman Catholic Church took a hardline stance against marriage equality for same-sex couples, marshaling some 60,000 Catholic and Evangelical faithful to march on Congress.
But yesterday, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirschner -- who in my book now replaces you-know-who as the Argentine gay icon -- addressed the topic in an interview from a trade visit to China:
Wow! While our supposed friends in the Democratic Party here in the U.S. wring their hands over conceding us our basic humanity, in Argentina Kirschner actually calls things -- that is, attitudes -- as they are: medieval, harking back to the inquisition. It never ceases to amaze me that more Americans aren't threatened by religious groups gnawing away bit by bit at any Constitutional freedom that doesn't expressly apply to freedom of religion. Oh, and the freedom to bear arms. They love that one, too.
But I digress. Meanwhile, a crowd was waiting outside el Congreso:
The forces of equality actually ran an excellent ad campaign called "The Same Love, the Same Rights." Here's one of the best... no subtitles, but it's pretty self-explanatory:
Maybe we can get them to do an ad campaign for us here in the States...