HAVANA (AP) — Two former beauty queens, Fabiola Valentín of Puerto Rico and Mariana Valera of Argentina, announced this week that they had secretly married.
The joint Instagram post spurred celebration in LGBTQ communities across Latin America, a region that has historically lagged on gay rights but has made small steps in recent years.
“After deciding to keep our relationship private, we’re opening the doors on this special day, 28/10/22,” Valentín and Valera said in their announcement posted Sunday.
The post includes a video montage of their relationship, including the two on vacations, at bars and on the beach at sunset. There is a view of gold and silver balloons reading “Marry me?” and the two together after the proposal.
The video ends with Valentín and Valera dressed in white kissing outside the courthouse in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Once barred in the U.S. territory, same-sex marriage became legal in Puerto Rico in 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such bans unconstitutional. In 2020, new codes came into place on the island adding additional LGBTQ protections.
The two women met at the Miss Grand International competition in Thailand in 2020, where they represented their countries. They continued to post on social media together since.
The marriage announcement was met with a swell of celebration on social media, which the couple responded to with enthusiam.
“Thank you for all the love! We’re very happy and joyful,” wrote Valera. “I am sending you all back the love you are giving us.”