Argentine Gay Couples May Claim Widow's Pension
Jeannette Neumann, Associated Press
August 18, 2008
Argentina on Monday announced its first nationwide gay-rights measure: granting same-sex couples the right to claim their deceased partners' pensions.
Couples must prove they have been living together for at least five years to receive the benefit, Amado Boudo, executive director of the national social security administration, told local television reporters.
The government's national decree will "put the rights of all cohabitants on a level playing field," Boudo said.
Gay activists welcomed Monday's announcement as the fruition of years of campaigning the government to grant them the same rights as heterosexual married couples.
Gay civil unions already are legal in five cities, including Buenos Aires.
The measure is "historic" and marks a "step forward" for human rights because it is the first nationwide gay-rights measure approved by the government, gay activist Pedro Paradiso Sottile told The Associated Press.
"The government is moving past words to action," said Sottile, an activist with the 24-year-old Argentine Homosexual Community organization in Buenos Aires.
Prior to the new decree, the deceased partners' pensions went directly to the government.
"The state was stealing our money," said Alejandra Portatadino, also a member of the Argentine Homosexual Community, calling the previous law "discriminatory" and "anti-constitutional."
The organization will now focus efforts on nationalizing civil unions, which would confer additional rights to gay couples, such as adoption and inheritance, Sottile said.
Buenos Aires was the first Latin American capital city to legalize gay civil unions in 2002. Since then, the Argentine capital has become one of the hotspots on the international gay-friendly tourist circuit, going head-to-head with Rio de Janeiro.
The soccer-crazed country was host last year to the first international gay world cup as well as the international gay tango festival.
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