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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 11 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 15
Argentine Catholic Church baptizes child of Lesbian couple - President Kirchner is godmother
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Argentine Catholic Church baptizes child of Lesbian couple - President Kirchner is godmother

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Catholic church in Cordoba, Argentina, has baptized the child of a Lesbian married couple. Cordoba's Catholic Archbishop, Carlos Nanez, gave permission for the ceremony. Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was the godmother.

The infant girl, Umma Azul, is the first child of Carina Villaroel and Soledad Ortiz. The couple later told BBC News that Umma's baptism was a sign of 'social change' in the Catholic church.

'This has set a record, the Church has opened a big door after much struggle and discrimination,' Villaroel said.

'Umma Azul is like all children. That is the message: we are all equal, all are equal in the world, heterosexual and gay, we all have the same rights.'

Ortiz personally asked the President to be the godmother 'because it is a way to thank her and former President Nestor Kirchner for that law that gave us rights,' she said.

Ortiz told reporters that 'now we hope to get married by the church and we will fight for that.'

Kirchner, who succeeded her late husband Nestor in 2007, spearheaded the drive to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. She also sponsored the country's landmark Gender Identity Law, which requires the country's healthcare plans to pay for reassignment surgery and hormone therapy. The law also allows citizens to change the names and gender markers on official documents without getting prior approval from a doctor or a judge.

Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, has signaled he wants a more tolerant attitude toward Gays and Lesbians in the Roman Catholic Church. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he opposed Kirchner's same-sex marriage law, but hinted he might support civil unions as an alternative.

In March, the Pope returned to the issue in an interview with the Italian magazine Corriere della Sera. 'Marriage is between a man and a woman,' the Pope insisted, but he added that, 'We have to look at different cases and evaluate them in their variety.'

Civil unions are a way to provide economic security to cohabitating couples, the Pope added, and to ensure rights like access to health care.

In a January speech to leaders of religious orders, Francis recalled meeting a girl whose mother was in a Lesbian relationship.

'The situation in which we live now provides us with new challenges which sometimes are difficult for us to understand,' the Pope said, adding that the church 'must be careful not to administer a vaccine against faith to [children in such families].'

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