The Argentinian government has granted same sex couples the right to claim their deceased partners’ pension.

As part of the country’s first gay-rights measure, couples must prove they have been living together for at least five years to receive the benefit.

The National Social Security Administration’s director, Amado Boudo, is to sign the resolution on Tuesday, and it will become law upon publication the following Wednesday.

Gay activists welcomed Monday’s announcement as the fruition of years of campaigning the government to grant them the same rights as heterosexual married couples.

The measure is “historic” and marks a “step forward” for human rights because it is the first nationwide gay-rights measure approved by the government, gay activist Pedro Paradiso Sottile told The Associated Press.

“The government is moving past words to action,” said Sottile, an activist with the 24-year-old Argentine Homosexual Community organization in Buenos Aires.

Prior to the new decree, the deceased partners’ pensions went directly to the government.

“The state was stealing our money,” said Alejandra Portatadino, also a member of the Argentine Homosexual Community, calling the previous law “discriminatory” and “anti-constitutional.”

The organization will now focus efforts on nationalising civil unions, which would confer additional rights to gay couples, such as adoption and inheritance, Mr Sottile said.

Buenos Aires was the first Latin American capital city to legalize gay civil unions in 2002.

Since then, the Argentine capital has become one of the hotspots on the international gay-friendly tourist circuit, going head-to-head with Rio de Janeiro.