Argentina’s Senate rejects call for referendum on the freedom to marry

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"Members of the Argentine Senate have rejected a call by the Roman Catholic Church to put a marriage equality bill up for a vote, La Nacion reported.

"Church officials had asked senators to move the debate on the freedom to marry from the Senate to the public square. The bill was approved in May by Argentina's lower house, the Chamber of Deputies (la Camara de Diputados) and is being reviewed in the Senate General Law Committee chaired by Senator Liliana Negre de Alonso, who has said that she disagrees with giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

"Negre de Alonso's committee began a four-city hearing tour on June 14 that wrapped up Monday in Mendoza.

"The full Senate is scheduled to take up the bill on July 14, a Wednesday. Members appear divided on the bill.

“'As agreed, the bill will be discussed on July 14 in the Senate, so I do not see it necessary to call a referendum,' Senator Ruben Giustiniani told the paper.

“'On July 6, the committee shall give its opinion [on the marriage bill] and there is no possibility that the opinion will include a call for a referendum,' Negre de Alonso said.

"An unofficial head count by the paper found that a majority of senators were against a public vote on the issue."

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