The Sunday New York Times included this story on the state of same-sex marriage in Mexico. Despite bans continuing in many Mexican states, the NYT concludes that it’s now de facto legal throughout the country.
That’s because the country’s Supreme Court has indicated it is willing to go to bat for any same-sex couple denied a marriage license by a state law:
A major turning point occurred this month when the court expanded on its rulings to issue a decree that any state law restricting marriage to heterosexuals is discriminatory.
“As the purpose of matrimony is not procreation, there is no justified reason that the matrimonial union be heterosexual, nor that it be stated as between only a man and only a woman,” the ruling said. “Such a statement turns out to be discriminatory in its mere expression.”
The ruling, however, does not automatically strike down the state marriage laws. However, it allows gay couples who are denied marriage rights in their states to seek injunctions from district judges, who are now obligated to grant them.
“Without a doubt, gay marriage is legal everywhere,” said Estefanía Vela Barba, an associate law professor at CIDE, a university in Mexico City. “If a same-sex couple comes along and the code says marriage is between a man and a woman and for the purposes of reproduction, the court says, ‘Ignore it, marriage is for two people.’”
The article notes that Mexico is not the first Latin American country to allow same-sex weddings. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are already there.
The Catholic Church and many social conservatives in those countries are staunchly opposed to such progress — but times are changing everywhere, as the vote in Ireland showed last month.
Here’s an interactive from the Guardian that shows the status of LGBT rights around the world. Note, however, that it’s about a year old, so I’m not sure if everything is accurate, considering the pace of change on this issue can be so lightning-quick.
One caveat about Mexico, the NYT notes: The fact that same-sex couples may have to obtain an injunction from a judge in order to get married means that the institution is still not open to all, since as a practical matter there are many LGBT Mexicans who don’t have the wherewithal to access the judicial system.
A silly aside: While Googling around on the English web for a little background information on Mexico’s LGBT situation, I came across these kitchy little creatures. Much as I like them, I like the URL from which they originated even more: http://bestgaydayofthedeadweddingmexicanfolkart.com. It’s a one-stop shop for all your gay Day of the Dead wedding Mexican folk art needs.