First gay Latin spouses snubbed

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The Independent US

They were supposed to be getting married in the morning. But as the happy couple were picking up bouquets and having a final fitting for their suits, a judge in Buenos Aires issued a court order preventing them from becoming Latin America's first husband and husband.

Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre learned late on Monday that the gay wedding they had planned to celebrate yesterday afternoon would have to be put on hold while Argentina's Supreme Court considers whether it breaches the country's constitution.

Their marriage has already divided the country, outraged the Catholic church, and been endlessly debated on television and in the editorial pages of Argentina's newspapers. After learning that it was blocked, the couple said they would turn up at the Beruti registry office in an effort to hold it anyway.

If officials refused to allow the nuptials to take place, Di Bello and Freyre said they would stage a protest outside the registry office. "We have a firm and irrevocable ruling [granting us permission]," they said in a statement. "They've only managed to postpone it."

The timing of the setback was unfortunate. Di Bello and Freyre, who are 41 and 39 respectively, had scheduled the wedding for World Aids Day: they are both HIV positive, and first met at an Aids awareness conference.

It is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding gay rights in Latin America, where most nations have until recently taken a conservative stance on the issue.

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