Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mexico's 31 states slow to recognize gay marriage

Courts, not politicians, are leading the legal charge

Guadalajara -
The legislature of Mexico's Federal District passed a same sex marriage law five years ago, and gay unions contracted in the capital city have enjoyed full legal legitimacy since 2010. Yesterday the border state of Coahuila became only the second jurisdiction in the nation to follow suit, despite repeated court rulings clarifying and enforcing marriage rights.

In December 2012 Mexico's Supreme Judicial Court rejected as unconstitutional a provision of the Oaxaca state civil code which had defined marriage as "the union of persons of opposite sex with the capacity for and purpose of procreation." Mexico's Supreme Court takes another step towards nationwide recognition of gay marriage. The court ruled that homosexuals are protected by human rights provisions implicit in Mexico's federal constitution, as well as by others to which the nation has explicitly subscribed in international treaties and conventions. Yet most of the nation's state governments have refused to change their rules until a court ordered them to do so.

In 2012 Quintana Roo officials said they would recognize same sex marriage on a de facto basis, without legislative action. But applicants continue to encounter road blocks when they apply for a license from local registrars in the Caribbean coast state, especially in smaller communities.

In 2013 officials in Mérida threw in the legal towel after losing the initial round of a court battle on the issue. Gay marriage arguably has been accepted there, albeit without the formal blessing of the state legislature. Yucatán federal court orders recognition of gay marriage.

Amid much controversy and debate, the legislative assemblies of Jalisco and its next door neighbor Colima both passed same sex union bills last year, pointedly refusing, however, to recognize them as marriages, or to permit legal privileges such as adoption. Jalisco, in particular, has been intransigent in enforcing its rules, which also allow heterosexuals to enter into a civil union for other purposes.

Same sex couples also filed lawsuits last year in the states of Guanajuato and Michoacán, and in each instance won their cases and were "wed" over the objections of local registrars. But neither state has legislatively approved gay marriage.

Coahuila's new law, passed by state assembly deputies with overwhelming support despite fierce opposition from the nation's influential Roman Catholic Church, puts same sex unions on a par with traditional heterosexual marriage and makes no legal distinction between the two. It guarantees the couple's right to adopt children, together with other prerogatives.

In the meantime, the majority of Mexican legislators show little interest in putting legal muscle behind the Supreme Judicial Court's repeated rulings on same sex marriage rights, and gay couples hoping to wed in the same way heterosexual couples do are likely to find their marriage license applications rejected by local registrars across the nation. The net result is more burdensome litigation for all.

May 17, 2014 - To dozens of others, Mexico now adds one more National Day - this one against Homophobia

Same sex marriage
Mar. 19, 2014 - Guanajuato joins Jalisco and Yucatán in allowing gay unions
Dec. 14, 2013 - Jalisco gay marriage rules are a morass of legal inconsistency
Oct. 19, 2013 - Guadalajara Catholic Archdiocese: gays are "emotionally unstable"
Mar. 27, 2013 - Same sex marriage arrives at the U.S. Supreme Court - and at the Mexican
Feb. 26, 2013 - No miniskirts allowed in Coahuila - for men or women

© MGR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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