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
- 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.
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.