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Homosexuals Lose Bid for Legal Recognition

November 26, 1991

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ Argentina’s largest homosexual group said Tuesday it will ask the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights to support its bid to be legally recognized here following a rejection by the Supreme Court.

The court denied legal status to the Argentine Homosexual Community on Monday on the ground the group’s intent was to promote public acceptance of a sexual conduct that ″harms nature and human dignity.″

The community’s president, Rafael Freda, said the 7-2 vote ″endorsed inequality before the law″ and that his group will appeal to world opinion.

Justice Rodolfo Barra, who voted with the majority, said in an interview Tuesday with Radio America that legal recognition is a ″social credential″ that confers legitimacy, and the government is within its rights to deny that to a group whose views it does not favor.

Roman Catholicism is officially the state religion in this nation of about 32.3 million people and by law the president and vice president must profess that faith.

A bishops’ letter last year stated homosexuality ″injures principles of natural law and the catholic ethic.″ At lower levels of the legal case, the church made known its opposition to the community’s request.

The Argentine Homosexual Community was set up in 1984. Legal recognition would allow it to buy property, accept donations, set up bank accounts and conduct other proceedings in the name of the group instead of its individual members.

Barra said lack of formal recognition does not mean the group must disband, nor that the constitutional rights of its members are in any way abridged.

The Buenos Aires Herald newspaper quoted Freda as saying, however that his group was in a ″legal limbo where the discrimination against us is not evident even though it exists.″

Activities the group supports include AIDS education programs and the free distribution of condoms.

The Supreme Court upheld a decision by the inspector-general of justice that recognition ″would make possible the legal promotion of a third hybrid gender.″

The majority stated, ″The defense of homosexuality harms nature and human dignity.″

President Carlos Menem said two weeks ago in the United States, after being confronted by a homosexual advocacy group, ″It seems to us perfect that they have″ legal recognition.

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