August 19, 2008 / 11:28 PM / 12 years ago

Argentina gay couples get to inherit pensions

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina on Tuesday granted gays the right to inherit a partner’s pension if they are widowed, extending a benefit that straight couples have long enjoyed.

Argentina is one of several countries moving to bolster gay rights in Latin America, home to about half the world’s Roman Catholics, despite church opposition to same-sex unions.

“There’s no turning back as our rights advance because they are part of a much bigger crusade for human rights in the Western world,” Marcelo Suntheim of the Argentine Homosexual Community activist group told Reuters.

Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, became the first city in Latin America to allow homosexual couples to join in “civil unions” in 2003. Mexico City eventually followed suit and Uruguay passed a nationwide law to that effect late last year.

Argentina’s social security agency said in a statement it aimed to give all common-law unions the same status as part of the center-left government’s drive to protect human rights.

Gay widows or widowers will have to prove they lived with their partners for at least five years, showing proof of jointly owned bank accounts or property or shared household expenses.

Government officials signed a resolution granting gay couples the shared pension rights on Tuesday.

Reporting by Juan Bustamante; Writing by Hilary Burke; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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