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Buenos Aires Lawyer Argentina: Offers Advise Gay Marriage to Foreigners

BUENOS AIRES, May 18 2012 (IPS) – Foreign non-residents, gay or straight, can now get married in the Argentine capital, thanks to a resolution that removed bureaucratic obstacles and streamlined the procedure.

Since same-sex marriage was approved in Argentina in July 2010, many homosexual couples from abroad have sought information about travelling to the city – not to settle here, but to legalise their bond and later push for official recognition of their new marriage certificate in their countries of origin.

But the process was bogged down in red tape, and civil registry regulations had to be modified to make it possible to meet the new level of demand. That was first done in the eastern province of Santa Fe, which in March authorised the marriage of foreigners who had spent a minimum of just 96 hours in the country.

A gay Paraguayan couple, Simón Cazal and Sergio López Centurión, immediately travelled to Rosario, the main city in that province, to get married. To indicate her support for the measure, socialist Mayor Mónica Fein was one of the witnesses to the wedding.

Cazal and López Centurión are gay activists who are trying to get their marriage legally recognised in their country.

Next to follow suit was Tierra del Fuego, Argentina’s southernmost province, which also eliminated the requisite that a couple must be permanent residents in the country. The eastern province of Buenos Aires then did the same.

Alex Greenwich of Australia and Victor Hoeld of Germany are gay rights activists who live in Sydney, Australia and wanted to get married in Buenos Aires. However, the authorities required an identity document for foreigners, which takes at least three months to obtain.

After running up against that hurdle, they applied for a marriage licence in La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, where a resolution was adopted allowing foreign couples to marry without an Argentine identity card.

Their wedding was attended by some 40 family members and friends from Australia, Germany and the United States, and received broad coverage from the local press and from the media in Australia, where it has fuelled a lively debate.

In response to these precedents and to pressure from local activists, the city of Buenos Aires agreed to adopt the same changes. Now foreign non-residents can marry simply by presenting their passports and the address where they are staying in the country.

The new regulations also instruct civil servants to schedule the marriage ceremonies of foreign couples quickly, so that they do not have to wait more than five days after applying for the licence, in order not to “undermine the spirit” of the same-sex marriage law.

“Before this, we were already receiving inquiries from foreigners every week. But now with this Buenos Aires resolution, requests are going to rain down on us,” activist Alejandro Nasif, with the Argentine Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBT), told IPS.

The Federation has worked hard to expand these rights in Argentina, and to foreign couples as well, seeing the law as an instrument that can be used to force changes in the national legislation of other countries.

A report presented this week in Geneva by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) indicates that same-sex marriage is legal in only 10 countries around the world: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.

The report was presented on the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, which is celebrated on May 17 because homosexuality was removed from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO) on that date in 1990.

The report also reveals that same-sex couples are allowed to adopt children in just 12 countries in the world – including Argentina. By contrast, 78 countries still have legislation criminalising same-sex consensual sexual acts between adults. In five countries – Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen – such acts are punishable by death.

Since the law on same-sex marriage was passed in 2010, more than 4,000 same-sex couples have married in Argentina.

Bills on same-sex civil unions or marriage are being debated in other countries in the region, while progress towards equality is advancing along other lines in yet others.

In Brazil, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of recognising the same rights for same-sex civil unions as for marriages. Nasif explained that a constitutional amendment would be needed to legalise same-sex marriage in Brazil.

“In Uruguay (where same-sex civil unions are legal), Bolivia, Paraguay and Chile there are bills on same-sex marriage that have varied levels of support. And in Colombia, some progress has been made in the courts. That’s why we receive constant inquiries from couples who want to come and get married in Argentina,” he said.

But in the few countries in the world where same-sex marriage is legal, foreigners must be permanent residents in order to qualify. The new regulations in several provinces make Argentina the first country in the world to eliminate that requisite.

“It’s very likely that because Buenos Aires is such an accessible, attractive city, this resolution will draw many couples to come and get married here; not only homosexuals but heterosexuals as well,” Nasif said.

In the Argentine capital, the authorities had refused to allow that possibility, arguing that it would foment gay marriage tours to the city. But they finally understood that they had to stop resisting, the activist said.

“What’s the problem if a tourist market opens up for foreign couples who want to come and get married in Buenos Aires, Rosario or Tierra del Fuego? A tourist niche will emerge, but we don’t see that as a bad thing,” he said.

The proven Buenos Aires – Argentina same sex marriage lawyer professionals at the Kier Joffe  law firm have experience working with foreign clients involved in gay marriage  in Argentina. Buenos Aires Argentina attorney professionals are knowledgeable in all areas of family law, including but not limited to same sex marriage cases in Buenos Aires Argentina. International clients will have the confidence of knowing that the case is being handled by an experienced and knowledgeable Buenos Aires gay marriage lawyer in Argentina.

www.kierjoffe.com

Same Sex Marriage Attorney Buenos Aires Lawyer Argentina Law Firm

Can my partner and I marry in Argentina?

Yes, in some places (see “residency requirement”). Marriage equality has existed in Argentina since 2010. The same application process applies to gay and lesbian couples as does to different-sex couples.

Is there a citizenship requirement?

There is no citizenship requirement to get married in Argentina.

Is there a residency requirement?

In order to get married in Argentina, the civil marriage ceremony must be held at the Civil Registry Office of the province where at least one of the partners is domiciled. In principle, this requirement bars two foreign nationals without residency from getting married in Argentina. However, certain provinces (the city of Buenos Aires, and the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and Tierra del Fuego) now allow couples to marry without residency or citizenship after only 96 hours within their borders (arguing that a residency requirement for marriage is unconstitutional).

Nonetheless, foreign nationals wishing to marry in Argentina must be lawfully present, i.e. as tourists and/or travelling with an appropriate visa (although they do not need a specific visa to get married in Argentina).

How can we apply?

The process to arrange a civil marriage differs from province to province. Thus, in the city of Buenos Aires (which has the same status as a province), at least one partner must go to the Civil Registry Office in person at least 30 business days before the intended date of marriage in order to schedule the date of the marriage. Alternatively, both partners may go to the court 10 days before the intended date of the marriage, but in this case the ceremony will be subject to availability. The scheduling may also be performed online.

Which documents must be provided?

The following documents must be presented when scheduling the marriage:

1. Identification documents of both parties must be provided as originals, and submitted as photocopies. Non-residents must show passports proving lawful presence;

2. Certificates of death or divorce in case one or both partners is/are divorced or widowed. If the certificates are from another country, they should be “legalized” at an Argentine consulate abroad or under the “apostille” procedure (a simplified international certification procedure for public documents). If the prior marriage or divorce was decreed outside of Argentina, then the marriage certificate and/or divorce decree should first be registered with an Argentine Civil Registry Office through a court procedure. If both marriage and divorce were decreed outside of Argentina, then the new marriage is subject to prior authorization by the city of Buenos Aires Civil Registry Office;

3. There are further requirements for minors (under 20): they must show identification documents, birth certificates, identification documents of parents, and authorization for marriage granted by both parents, a guardian, or by an Argentine court. If the birth certificate is foreign, it should be “legalized” in the country of issuance (by means of “apostille” or at an Argentine consulate).

Is there a fee?

A fee will be payable, depending on the province where the marriage will be celebrated.

Are there medical requirements?

After having scheduled the marriage, both partners must go to a public hospital within seven days before the intended date of marriage in order to perform a blood test. If either or both partners are found to have a venereal disease, the marriage will not be allowed. It however seems that HIV does not count as a venereal disease for this purpose, since the both members of the first gay couple to get married in Argentina were HIV-positive.

What does the wedding ceremony look like?

At the ceremony, applicants stand in line and will be married on a first come-first served basis. There must be two witnesses over the age of 18 present at the ceremony (but regulations on who may be a witness vary from province to province). If one or both of the partners does/do not understand Spanish, they are legally required to be assisted by a locally chartered translator.

Which parental rights does an Argentine marriage confer?

The Argentine marriage equality law grants all the rights also granted to different-sex couples, including the right to adopt children. Thus both joint adoption as well as step-parent adoption are possible.

Since all the same rights are granted, you should also expect your partner’s children to become your step-children, since Argentina, though still holding traditional views of family roles, is one of the few countries that has developed legal precedents for legitimizing the stepparent-stepchild relationship while retaining all parental rights and responsibilities. However, in order to find out the extent of legal rights and responsibilities granted, you should always check with the relevant authorities.

GAY MARRIAGE IN ARGENTINA

To be married in Argentina, one or both parties must be a resident of the country. No marriage can be performed if both parties are tourists in Argentina. 1. Application forms for permission to marry must be picked up at the district civil registry office no less than 30 days prior to the date the marriage is to take place. Normally the district of residence of the bride or groom will determine which district civil registry office will be used. 2. Medical examination forms are picked up at the same time at the same office. A doctor will be specified. There is a for the marriage book. The interested parties will pick up the results of the examination. 3. Either party may request the civil registry office in the area of residence to perform the marriage. 4. Proof of previous marriages must show legal termination either by death or divorce. Death certificates or divorce decrees issued in the United States must be authenticated by apostille from the office of the Secretary of State in the state where the divorce decree was issued. This apostille process is accepted by the government of Argentina under the Hague Convention. 5. Applicants stand in line on the appointed date at the Civil Registry Office on a first come-first serve basis. The ceremony will last only a few minutes. Two witnesses must be in attendance at the ceremony. 6. Minors: Brides from 16 to 20 years old, and grooms from 18 to 20 years old. Birth certificate and parents’ IDs, plus a parental authorization must be presented (death certificate is needed if one of the parents is deceased). If the parents do not issue their consent, a judicial authorization will be needed. If one of the parents is absent, the one who is present must submit an ID and an authorization from the absent parent, authenticated by the nearest Argentine Consulate and subsequently authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Buenos Aires.

Documents

When scheduling the ceremony, the couple should pay the applicable fee and provide the following documentation:

1. Identification documents of both parties: non-residents must show a passport (showing appropriate legal immigration status in the country); residents must show their National Identity Document (Documento Nacional de Identidad – DNI). A photocopy of such identification documents shown must be submitted;

2. If either member of the couple has been divorced or widowed he or she should supply a certified copy of the divorce decree or death certificate, as the case may be. If the copy has been certified outside of Argentina, it should be legalised in its country of issuance (either with an “Apostille” or at an Argentine consulate). In the case of divorced persons, if the prior marriage was celebrated or the divorce has been decreed outside of Argentina, the foreign marriage certificate and/or divorce decree should first be registered with an Argentine Civil Registry Office, through a court procedure. If both the prior marriage and the divorce were celebrated and decreed, respectively, outside of Argentina, the new marriage is subject to prior authorisation by the city of Buenos Aires Civil Registry Office;

3. Minors (any person aged less than 18): identification documents, birth certificate, identification documents of parents, and authorisation for marriage granted by both parents, the minor’s guardian, or by an Argentine court. In case of foreign birth certificates, they should be legalised in their country of issuance (either with an “Apostille” or at an Argentine consulate);

Medical tests

After scheduling the date for the marriage, the couple must appear for a blood test at a public hospital within seven days prior to the intended date of marriage. This test can also be performed at certain designated private hospitals, and it is aimed at screening the couple for venereal diseases. If, as a result of this test, any member of the couple is found to have a venereal disease during contagion period, the couple will not be allowed to marry.

The proven Buenos Aires – Argentina same sex marriage lawyer professionals at the Kier Joffe  law firm have experience working with foreign clients involved in gay marriage  in Argentina. Buenos Aires Argentina attorney professionals are knowledgeable in all areas of family law, including but not limited to same sex marriage cases in Buenos Aires Argentina. International clients will have the confidence of knowing that the case is being handled by an experienced and knowledgeable Buenos Aires gay marriage lawyer in Argentina.

www.kierjoffe.com