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Gay demonstrations mark Valentine's Day across Latin America
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Gay demonstrations mark Valentine's Day across Latin America

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Gay rights activists in Latin America used the occasion of Valentine's Day to stage demonstrations in several countries. In Argentina, the Argentine LGBT Federation and ElMismoAmor.org invited the LGBT community and its allies to its second annual 'Picnics for the Same Love.'

Last December, two Argentinean men became the first same-sex couple in Latin America to marry legally. However, other Argentine couples wishing to marry must wait for an expected Supreme Court ruling on the legality of same-sex marriages.

In Santiago, Chile, the United Movement of Sexual Minorities (MUMS) called a demonstration for marriage equality in central Army Plaza.

'Chile is a country in which not everyone is equal,' said MUMS director Fernando Muñoz, 'it's a country where the laws keep you out and put you on the margin specifically in the sense that there is no recognition of same-sex partners or of common-law partners in the law that recognizes partnerships, nor of those who might want to form one.'

Muñoz challenged current Chilean law that marriage is only allowed for procreation, saying it was hypocritical to prevent Gays from marrying, but allow straight couples who cannot procreate to marry.

In Guadalajara, Mexico, 350 students marched from the University of Guadalajara to the city's main plaza and staged a kiss-in in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral.

La Jornada newspaper reported that the march was organized by a coalition of LGBT student organizations from the Mexican states of Jalisco, Colima, and Guanjuato.

Milenio reported that 11 Gay and Lesbian couples participated in a symbolic wedding ceremony in front of the cathedral. Same-sex marriage is now legal in Mexico City, but not in other parts of the country.

They also reported homophobic insults and obscenities being hurled at marchers. March organizers expressed relief that there were no outbursts of violence.

"We received many threats from many people who said they were not going to allow us to march, including many who said they would be waiting here at the Cathedral to prevent us carrying on with the event, but at the end, none of that came to be," said Karina Velasco Michel.

In Peru, members of the LGBTI Student Bloc of Lima staged their second annual "Kisses Against Homophobia" action, taking over the atrium of a popular Lima shopping mall.

According to Blog de Lima, Gay and Lesbian couples held hands and kissed as they made their way through the mall but ran into heavy security as they assembled inside the mall's main gathering place.

Couples then hugged each other and kissed for the news cameras as they left the building.

Across town, members of the Peruvian TTLGB Network congregated at "Love Park" in Lima's Miraflores district for a symbolic same-sex marriage ceremony. The Network, which had participated in previous kiss-in actions, said it wanted to highlight the lack of same-sex partnership rights in the country.

"Just as the laws have to change in Mexico and Argentina, making civil rights be available for everyone, that's what our community demands," Lesbian attorney Susel Paredes told EFE news service.

Paredes symbolically married her partner in the ceremony.

EFE reports that five couples participated in the ceremony, but Peruvian media say that there were four same-sex couples and one heterosexual couple who were there to support marriage equality.

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