Argentine leader becomes godmother for gay couple's child

Carina Villarroel and Soledad Ortiz said that baby Umma's baptism was a sign of "social change" in the Catholic church

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Argentina's leader, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has become godmother to the child of a lesbian couple who was baptised in a Catholic church.

Umma Azul, just over two months old, was baptised in the city of Cordoba.

One of the couple was quoted as saying they approached President Fernandez to be godmother because they wanted to thank her for supporting gay rights.

The president legalised same-sex marriage despite opposition from Argentina's Catholic hierarchy.

Officially, the Church remains firmly opposed to gay marriage.

However, some within the Church have argued for easing this stance.

Pope Francis, himself from Argentina, says all children may be baptised.

Since becoming Pope, he has been associated with a more tolerant approach to homosexuality.

However, as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he had opposed the legalisation of gay marriage.

Ms Fernandez did not attend the ceremony in Cordoba, sending a representative instead.

Umma Azul is the first child of Carina Villaroel and Soledad Ortiz. The couple are not believed to know President Fernandez personally.

In approaching her, they adapted an Argentine tradition which allows any couple to ask the president to be godparent to their seventh child.

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