August 6, 2010

Same Sex Marriages Constitutional in Mexico City

The voting was a landslide. Eight ministers voted in favour; two against; and one abstained. The issue was whether same sex marriage is constitutional in the Federal District. Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, based in Mexico City, declared that it most certainly is.

However, decisions have been postponed on the addendums; namely - does this apply to the rest of the country, outside Mexico City? And is the right of same sex couples to adopt children equally constitutional?

The latter issue, in particular, has come under fierce opposition from the Catholic Church and Mexico's conservative government. Nevertheless all of the signs indicate that both of these questions will be eventually answered in the affirmative.

The Mexico City Legislative Assembly, headed by Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, had originally approved the bill, in December 2009, though it didn't become law until 4 March 2010. Its forerunner, which became effective on 16 March 2007, had approved civil unions. This was the first of its kind in Latin America and, by December 2009, 736 unions had taken place.

The updated law went much further than ever before. Same sex couples had the right not only to fully marry, but to adopt children; take out joint bank loans; be named as the spouse in insurance policies; inherit wealth, and much more. It made homosexual marriages equal to their heterosexual counterparts. So far, 320 same sex marriages have taken place under its protection.

Jorge Cerpa and Antonio Medina
Jorge Cerpa and Antonio Medina
- the first same sex couple to marry in Mexico

However, the government of Mexico is President Felipe Calderon's right-wing Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party). A challenge to the new law was soon set in motion. The government argued that the law would be destructive to families. The Mexican constitution protects families and procreation and therefore, the government declared, allowing same sex marriages had to be unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court, hearing the case, disagreed. Ministers Sergio Valls, Olga Sánchez, José de Jesus Gudiño, Juan Silva Meza, Luis María Aguilar, José Ramón Cossío, Fernando Franco and Arturo Zaldívar all voted in favour of its retention. Judge Gudiño commented, "I have tried to seek, and I don’t find, a way in which this could be unconstitutional."

Judge Franco made the point that, as 'procreation is not an essential element of matrimony' (you can still be married and not have children), then the law 'does not run counter to the protection the constitution grants to the family and procreation'.

The court will meet again, on Monday, to discuss the remaining two issues - nationwide application of the law and the adoption of children by same sex married couples. If the law is passed nationwide, then Mexico will join Argentina, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden, as the only countries worldwide to afford full equality to its citizens, regardless of sexual orientation.

Mexico legalises gay marriage


This will be the big news of the day for many readers of this blog. I'm guessing anyway, given the sheer amount of times that people find it by searching such keywords as, 'cancun gay festival', 'riviera maya gay', 'maya homosexuality' and 'gay tours of riveria maya'. At least 20% of people finding us seem to do so by searching for information about the gay scene in Mexico, no doubt lured here by a previous blog entry: Gay Vacations in the Riviera Maya. To you then, I dedicate this blog entry. :)

Edit: Since writing this blog entry, the Supreme Court has decreed that homosexual marriages must be recognized throughout Mexico. However, it stopped short of ruling that all states must allow marriages to take place within their borders. It also ruled that same-sex couples may jointly adopt children, though again only in Mexico City. Their rights as parents, however, must also be recognized throughout the country.

7 comments:

  1. Great to see that it's not only the United States making progress on equality recently, and that the shift in the right direction is a multinational endeavor. Any new news?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! The Supreme Court meant yesterday and they have ruled that same sex marriages have to be recognized in every Mexican state. This does not mean that every state has to allow marriages in their territory though.

    So if a couple get married in Mexico City or Chihuahua, then they are married throughout Mexico.

    The court is still to decide upon the adoption issue, though a decision is expected as early as tomorrow.

    Congratulations on your own progress in the United States.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That is supposed to say met yesterday. Not meant.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That's definitely a step in the right direction. It's still better than what we have here, which is that a same-sex marriage will only be valid in a state which recognizes it. (And people claim that the US is the "most advanced". *shakes head*) I hope that the adoption issue sees as favourable of results.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had no idea that the same sex marriages in the US were only recognized in the same state. :(

    ReplyDelete
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