REPORTER: Elise West

In the midst of an international controversy, Cesar Cigliutti and Marcelo Suntheim are making history in a Buenos Aires registry office.


They’re getting married.

REPORTER, (Translation): Are you going to enjoy it?

WOMAN, (Translation): Of course! That’s why I came.

REPORTER, (Translation): You haven’t come to get a girlfriend?

WOMAN, (Translation): No, I’m not after a girlfriend. I was married for 50 years.

REPORTER, (Translation): Isn’t she your girlfriend?

WOMAN, (Translation): No, we just met here. She came to look too.

A week ago, congratulations were flooding in from gay activists around the world.

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): To Mr and Mrs Cigliutt-Suntheim. What a nerve! We send you kisses from backward England.

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): They don’t have a civil union law.

Cesar and Marcelo’s 6-year campaign for legal recognition has pitted them against the Roman Catholic Church.

ROMAN REPORTER, (Translation): While the debate over the union of same sex couples has intensified, the Vatican has condemned the marriage of homosexuals and has confirmed its traditional position.

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): Latin America is the Vatican’s last bastion. I’m sure that they’ve seen us over there. Now that they’re aware, they’ve begun to make a move. The Vatican has issued this document on the issue of legislation…So we’re getting ready to cop a bit of a belting.

REPORTER, (Translation): Is it very intense to be in the eye of the Vatican?

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): Yes… but the church in Argentina has damaged its reputation… because they took part, collaborated and covered up during the military dictatorship.

Argentina’s “Dirty War” in the 1970s claimed 30,000 lives. Homosexuals were amongst those targeted.

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): All over Latin America gays and lesbians have been unofficially executed.

REPORTER, (Translation): Why?

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): For being gay or lesbian. Just 10 years ago, there were candidates who even today are candidates for high political office, and, for example, one of them said, “Homosexuals should be put against a wall and shot.”

FATHER ALBERTO BOCHATEY: In many Western countries, the rights of minority became an important issue, sometimes more important than the majorities’ rights and they base everything in rights and not everything in dignity of human life.

Father Alberto Bochatey is spokesman for the Argentinian Catholic Church.

FATHER ALBERTO BOCHATEY: The Bible said God created male and female for that reason, male and female leave their homes and became one, never saying that male and male or female and female. Something it’s not in the plan of God.

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): We met during a Pride march. Marcelo was climbing a lamp post with the Pride flag. I liked it because it was sort of a heroic deed.

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): So he invited me to dinner at his house and I had to cook!

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): Did you cook?

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): I cooked.

FATHER ALBERTO BOCHATEY: When we explain and say “Do you agree that people with this behaviour or tendency get married like you get married with your wife, Oh no, this is different.” This is if you go on the street.

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): We argue that there’s no institution, not even the Vatican, there’s no politician, no science, that could argue for the inequality of people before the law… absolutely not. It’s just prejudice and ignorance.

REPORTER, (Translation): Is this a great victory?

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): Yes, they lost. It has to be said… they lost.

Politicians and priests are really the only ones who object to Cesar and Marcelo’s union. Hundreds have come to the registry office to wish them well.

WOMAN, (Translation): I’m pleased. If they’re happy, they should get married. Whoever wants to get married should be able to do so.

MAN 1, (Translation): I think all of Latin America is setting a clear example that in spite of the crisis we’re experiencing, there’s a very healthy mentality that will allow us to overcome any obstacle, any situation.

REPORTER, (Translation): Are you going to take advantage of the law?

MAN 2, (Translation): Yes… definitely definitely.

REPORTER, (Translation): As soon as possible?

MAN 2, (Translation): We’ll see…

CESAR CIGLIUTTI, (Translation): Some are still calling for a social debate on the issue. But that’s already been done. Society has shown great maturity and awareness about the issue. To be still casting doubts is a reactionary attitude.

MARCELO SUNTHEIM, (Translation): The ceremony was, well… we were all squashed together, all the media was there… but I any it was the happiest moment of my life. I don’t remember ever having felt so happy. Basically, Cesar is one of the best people I know. He’s capable of great affection, very protective. He’s an interesting and intelligent person, very handsome… someone who has a strong spirit and lives life trying to be free and happy. That’s something we share and that binds us together.

Gay Wedding in Buenos Aires