BUENOS AIRES — A gay man tying the knot next week in Latin America's first same-sex marriage predicted Thursday that his ground-breaking wedding will inspire other homosexual couples to follow suit.
"Our December 1 civil wedding service will launch a new campaign in the coming months in different major cities to allow same-sex couples to do the same," said Alejandro Freyre, 39, at a press conference here.
An Argentine judge paved the way for the region's first gay marriage earlier this month when she granted Freyre and his partner Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, permission to marry.
Buenos Aires, known for its active if low-key gay movement, became the region's first city to approve civil unions for gay couples in 2002, granting gay couples some but not all the rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
Freyre and Di Bello had been denied in an earlier attempt to marry because they were both men, prompting them to file a successful appeal.
The ruling could increase pressure for lawmakers to take up a stalled gay marriage bill in Congress.
"We're going to keep on going," said Freyre, adding that he would not rest until Congress changed current Argentine law defining marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman.
Meanwhile, in Cuba, sexologist Mariela Castro, daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro urged Thursday for the Havana legislature to grant gays the right to marry and adopt children.
She said a change in the legal code was needed to ensure civil rights and equal protections for homosexuals.
In the rest of Latin America, Mexico City, the Mexican state of Coahuila and the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul also allow civil unions for same-sex couples.
Uruguay became the first country in the region in late 2007 to legalize civil unions for gays. In January 2009, the Colombian Constitutional Court recognized a series of rights for homosexual couples, including social welfare rights.