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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkEditorials | Issues 

Mexican Supreme Court Advances Gay Marriage Agenda
email this pageprint this pageemail usAllan Wall - PVNN
August 17, 2010


Same-sex marriage is a radical legal innovation in the Western World, where male/female monogamy has been the norm since ancient European times.
The issue of gay marriage continues to be a contentious one in Western countries, and Mexico is no exception. Recent decisions handed down by the Mexican Supreme Court have greatly advanced the gay marriage agenda. But it's still controversial and there is still opposition.

In Mexico, unlike the U.S., the government only recognizes civil weddings, not church weddings. Most couples have a civil wedding and then a church wedding. However, only the civil wedding is necessary to be legally married.

Both in the U.S. and Mexico, marriages are not registered under the authority of the federal government, but under that of an individual state, such as Chihuahua in Mexico or Wyoming in the United States.

As in many countries, the establishment of same-sex civil unions is a stepping stone to same-sex marriage.

In 2006 and 2007, same-sex civil unions were established in two Mexican entities: the Federal District (Mexico City) and the northern state of Coahuila (which borders Texas on the U.S. side). To date, no other Mexican state has established such a law.

In December of 2009, the Federal District legalized full-fledged same-sex marriage, with this law becoming effective in March of 2010. It was the first entity in all of Latin American to legalize same-sex marriage.

The law was opposed by the Mexican federal government. The dispute went all the way to the 11-member Mexican Supreme Court. In opposing the law, the Mexican Attorney General argued that it violated Article 121 of the Mexican Constitution (which governs the relations between Mexican states).

The Mexican Supreme Court recently handed two rulings on the matter (with a ruling on adopted still expected). Note: A majority of judges in Mexico's high court affirmed adoption by gays as part of Mexico City's recently-enacted gay marriage law. More info here.

The ruling of August 5th, 2010, upheld the Mexico City same-sex marriage law as being constitutional. (The vote on that ruling was 8 to 2.)

Five days later, on August 10th, 2010, the Supreme Court went a step further. It decreed that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City are valid marriages throughout all of Mexico. The decision did not, however, explicitly require that individual Mexican states are required to legalize gay marriage in their own states, just that they have to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in Mexico City.

One of the two justices who voted against that ruling was Chief Justice Guillermo Ortiz (not to be confused with a former governor of the Bank of Mexico, also named Guillermo Ortiz).

The aforementioned Article 121 of the Mexican Constitution contains a "full faith and credit" clause. This clause, allowing for translation, is word for word identical to a clause in Article IV, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution.

That means it's going to be very hard, in either in the U.S. or Mexico, to keep this controversy at a state level. There is more to Mexico than Mexico City, and out in the hinterlands (and even in Mexico City) there is still plenty of opposition to gay marriage.

In 2009, even before the Federal District legalization, the southeastern state of Yucatan explicitly banned gay marriage. After the Supreme Court's rulings, other states may follow suit. The "full faith and credit" clause may be tested.

The gay marriage question is often presented as simply a matter of individual rights. Really though, it's a matter that affects an entire society. Same-sex marriage is a radical legal innovation in the Western World, where male/female monogamy has been the norm since ancient European times.

Gay marriage has not traditionally been a part of either Roman/Napoleonic Civil Law in Europe and Latin American or Anglo-Saxon Common Law in the English-speaking countries.

Not only that, but marriage law is related to all other sorts of issues: child custody, inheritance, divorce law, etc. These areas cannot fail to be impacted by the radical social experiment taking place in various Western countries.

What about Mexicans who just don't agree with the gay activist agenda? In other Western countries there has been a loss of freedom of speech in discussing this issue. In Europe, the UK, Canada and the U.S., some critics of the gay agenda have found themselves in legal trouble for expressing their opposition. Will this also occur in Mexico?

What the gay marriage activists are really striving for, in Mexico and elsewhere, is a transformation of the family and of society itself. So, does the rest of society have any say in the matter, or has it all been decided already by the activists?
Allan Wall is an American citizen who has been teaching English in Mexico since 1991, and writing articles about various aspects of Mexico and Mexican society for the past decade. Some of these articles are about Mexico's political scene, history and culture, tourism, and Mexican emigration as viewed from south of the border, which you can read on his website at AllanWall.net.

Click HERE for more articles by Allan Wall



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