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2 Latin American men get married

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Two Argentine men were joined Monday in Latin America's first same-sex marriage, traveling to the southernmost tip of the Americas to find a welcoming spot to wed.

Gay rights activists Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre were married in Ushauaia, the capital of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego state, in a ceremony witnessed by state and federal officials.

"My knees didn't stop shaking," Di Bello said. "We are the first gay couple in Latin America to marry."

The couple had previously tried to marry in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires but were thwarted by city officials citing conflicting judicial rulings. Argentina's Constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to state and city officials.

Tierra del Fuego Gov. Fabiana Rios said in a statement that gay marriage "is an important advance in human rights and social inclusion and we are very happy that this has happened in our state."

An official representing the federal government's antidiscrimination agency, Claudio Morgado, attended the wedding in the city of Ushauaia and called the occasion "historic."

Many in Argentina and throughout Latin America remain opposed to gay marriage, particularly the Roman Catholic Church.

A bill that would legalize gay marriage was introduced in Argentina's Congress in October, but it has stalled without a vote.

Only seven countries in the world allow gay marriages: Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. U.S. states that permit same-sex marriage are Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

A Nevada couple letting their SUV's navigation system guide them through the high desert of Eastern Oregon got stuck in snow for three days when the GPS unit sent them down a remote forest road.

On Sunday, conditions changed enough for their GPS-enabled cell phone to get a weak signal and relay coordinates to a dispatcher, Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said.

"GPS almost did them in and GPS saved them," Evinger said. "It will give you options to pick the shortest route. But it may not be a safe route."

Evinger said a deputy found the couple in the Winema-Fremont National Forest outside the small town of Silver Lake on Sunday and pulled their four-wheel-drive Toyota Sequoia out of the snow.

John Rhoads, 65, and his wife, Starry Bush-Rhoads, 67, made it home safely to Reno. The couple was well-equipped for winter travel, carrying food, water and warm clothes, the sheriff said.

On Thursday, the GPS told them to turn down a forest service road, and they followed it nearly 35 miles before getting stuck in 1½ feet of snow, the sheriff said. But they could not get a signal on their phones to call for help.

"For some reason they finally got a weak signal after 2½ days," Evinger said.

Eventually one of their phones sent its location to the dispatcher's console.

Associated Press

2 Latin American men get married 12/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, December 28, 2009 10:39pm]

    

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