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Argentina judge nullifies same-sex marriage
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Argentina judge nullifies same-sex marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Damian Bernath and Jorge Sala

zar were legally married March 3 and legally un-married March 10 in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. The story of their one-week marriage turned on contradictory rulings by two Argentine judges.

On February 23, Buenos Aires Judge Elena Liberatori said the couple had a right to marry, and ordered the city's Civil Registrar to perform the wedding.

Lawyers representing the Catholic Church appealed her decision, claiming that the marriage would be an "irreparable impediment" to religious marriage rites.

Their appeal was initially rejected, and the ceremony took place March 3.

On March 10, Argentine Federal Judge Felix Gustavo de Igarzabal reversed that decision.

In his ruling, Igarzabal said no marriage took place "because of the absence of the institution's structural elements" - in this case a man and a woman - and declared the wedding void.

He also said any "legal effects derived from the act shall be suspended."

The judge ordered the two men to turn in any marriage licenses or other documents they received from the civil registry office within 72 hours. If they fail to do so, they may face fines.

The couple has not commented on their intentions.

Bernath and Salazar were the second couple to be legally married in Argentina.

Jose Maria di Bello and Alex Freyre were married on December 28, but had to travel to the remote Tierra del Fuego province to do so. Unsympathetic judges in Buenos Aires blocked a wedding there.

Igarzabal's ruling does not address their marriage.

When news of the latest court decision was posted on the Catholic News Service website, one reader commented:

"This is WONDERFUL NEWS! Praise and glory to God for this, for He has heard our prayers through His Blessed Mother for the protection of marriage!"

The next reader replied sarcastically:

"How Christian to forcibly annul the partnership, deny them the legal benefits, and publicly humiliate them. I'm sure God is smiling."

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