Thursday, July 22, 2010
Witeck Witnesses Signing of Argentina's Same Sex Marriage Law
jubilant Argentine citizens and a number of American and international
LGBT friends and colleagues -- and by chance, I was able to attend and to
witness this historic signing of Argentina's first same sex marriage law at the Casa Rosada.
Afterwards, with immense serendipity, I was included with a handful of
others led by Pablo DeLuca and Gustavo Noguera, with the Argentine LGBT
Chamber, along with Justin Nelson and Chance Mitchell from NGLCC as well
as New York based journalists Mike Luongo and Mark Chesnut, to stop by
President Cristina's office after the ceremony for what turned out to be
nearly a half-hour personal conversation with her and a few of her staff.
(These journalists, I understand, will soon file excerpts and photos from
our personal meeting with the President as soon as their wits and skills
allow -- so they can be be relied upon for the record, while I just share
With my near-extinct knowledge of Spanish, I was sadly reduced to
witnessing this historic private moment as though I was watching a foreign
language film without English subtitles. But like some immensely
beautiful art films, there are times when words are somewhat powerless
because feelings and emotions are so expressive and dominant.
In her office, after her official act was complete, she was captivating,
dramatic, ebullient, intense and embracing -- still touched by the
poignancy of the signing ceremony itself. After she signed the
legislation in the public space downstairs, we witnessed hundreds of the
attendees inside the room and outside as well, begin to press forward to
touch her, hug her, hand her flowers, seek photos with her -- in a
throbbing human crush that probably mirrors the passionate nature of
Argentinian public life most of us merely know from history or films. It
was a scene of such emotion that as a lifelong resident of Washington DC,
I cannot imagine any such event resembling this scene taking place in the
White House or in many executive mansions -- and simply because of the
risk of physical harm alone to the President or others in the pushing,
pressing and jubilant crowd on the floor.
To make this evening more unreal as well was to see the painting of Juan
Peron on the wall behind her and over her right shoulder, to see Evita's
likeness in oil on the wall to her left, and Che Guevara's image on the
wall to her right.
What little I know of Buenos Aires I have learned here in the first 36
hours, and if nothing else, these are among the most passionate people on
earth. And tonight they have every single reason to be.