Friday, May 4, 2012

Gay marriages will be recognized in Quintana Roo

*Updated Apr. 21, 2014*
Cancún, Quintana Roo --
It appears that same-sex unions have been given the green light by officials in this southeastern state along Mexico's Caribbean coast. The announcement was made yesterday (May 3) during a government press conference in Cancún.

In November 2011, two gay couples applied for and received marriage licenses in the town of Lázaro Cárdenas. Local officials in the Q.R. community concluded there was nothing in state law limiting marriage to persons of the opposite sex. But the state marriage registrar later refused to recognize the unions or record the documents. Higher state officials have reversed that determination. Some in Quintana Roo have lobbied to make the state a center for same-sex weddings and gay tourism (Can Quintana Roo save itself by promoting gay marriage?)

In January Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court upheld the right of each of the country's 32 states to decide for itself whether to recognize same-sex unions, applying local community standards. The Federal District has allowed gay marriage since 2010 (Mexico's highest court upholds right of same-sex couples to marry on a state-by-state basis).

In yesterday's announcement Quintana Roo authorities said they are prepared to review and approve other same-sex marriages which have been rejected by lower level officials. The Q.R. state legislature has not officially adopted a law permitting gay marriage, but Cancún's mayor has urged it to do so promptly, to eliminate any legal confusion on the issue (Update May 24 - La unión de parejas del mismo sexo se debe legislar).

The political candidates' positions
Mexico's 2012 presidential candidates are divided on the question of legal recognition of same-sex unions. Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) nominee Enrique Peña Nieto believes that there should be no federal rules on the subject, but rather that each of the country's 32 states should define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, which reflects the current status of the law. In contrast, National Action Party (PAN) candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota is opposed absolutely to state recognition of gay marriage.

Democratic Revolution party (PRD) candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador has refused to state his position, but the popular perception is that he supports it, since the Federal District, where he served a governor from 2000-2005, was the first jurisdiction in the country to approve same-sex unions. It should be noted that López Obrador was long gone from office when the measure was passed there in December 2009.

Mexico's 2012 dark horse candidate, New Alliance Party (PNA) nominee Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, favors unrestricted gay marriage, and does not believe that its recognition should be left up to the discretion of individual states. On April 20 he said that all personal unions, irrespective of the sex of the parties, "strengthen the social fabric" of the nation. Quadri calls himself a "liberal" and has said, "I favor individual liberties."

May 8: North Carolina today became the 31st U.S. state to adopt a constitutional amendment specifically prohibiting legal recognition of same-sex marriages. The American federal constitution does not address the subject at all.

Apr. 23, 2013 - Despite assurances by state officials almost a year ago that gay marriages would be approved and recognized in Quintana Roo, an American woman and her Mexican partner are having problems closing the deal in Tulum.

Apr. 21, 2014 - Almost a year after their legal struggle began, the couple mentioned above have won their battle against the local marriage registrar. On Apr. 15 a federal judge ordered Tulum officials to marry the women within a period of eight days.

July 6, 2013 - Yucatecans not ready for gay marriage, says chief judge
June 26, 2013 - The U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage, in a nutshell
Apr. 30, 2013 - Yucatán federal court orders recognition of gay marriage
Mar. 27 - Same sex marriage arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court - and at the Mexican Supreme Court
Dec. 5 - Mexico's Supreme Court takes another step towards nationwide recognition of gay marriage
Nov. 13 - Gay marriage on the table of Yucatán state congress

Presidential candidates address thorny issues of abortion, same-sex unions
Abortion opponents challenge PRD candidate López Obrador at papal Mass
Gay activists protest outside of PAN headquarters in D.F.
Is Mexico's Roman Catholic Church anti-López Obrador?
Mexico's presidential campaign begins

May 9 - Obama says he supports legalization of same-sex marriage

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