Argentine president is godmother to lesbians' baby

Apr 07, 2014, 08:14 IST | Agencies

Cristina Fernandez became the godmother of the two-month-old Umma Azul, the first child to receive the Roman Catholic’s blessings in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES: Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez has agreed to be the godmother of a lesbian couple’s baby in a Roman Catholic cathedral. Umma Azul, who is just over 2 months old, was baptized on Saturday in a ceremony with her two mothers. She’s the first child known to receive this church blessing in Argentina.

President’s Blessings: Umma Azul, daughter of Carina Villarroel and Soledad Ortiz at the baptism ceremony. Pic/AFP

An Argentine law based on an old Russian tradition allows couples to ask presidents to be godparents for their seventh child. Nancy Esteche, who runs the presidential office that arranges these baptisms, confirmed on Friday that Fernandez agreed to make an exception for this first daughter of Carina Villarroel and Soledad Ortiz, who were married last year.

Fernandez won a political battle against Pope Francis four years ago when he was Argentina’s top church leader and the country became the first in Latin America to legalize gay marriage. After he became pope last year, Francis showed more openness to gays and lesbians, famously asking, “who am I to judge?” if a gay person seeks the Lord.

Fernandez did not participate in the ceremony itself, which took place in the historic cathedral in provincial Cordoba 435 miles (700 kilometers) from the capital. Naval officer Claudia Fenochio  attended in her stead.

But gays were celebrating the move on Friday, saying it suggests a new opening for the global church now led by their Argentine pope.

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