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Inching Closer to Legalized Gay Marriage in Mexico

Inching Closer to Legalized Gay Marriage in Mexico

Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling last week against a state’s gay marriage ban, paving the way for future challenges and, eventually, for same-sex marriage to be made legal throughout the nation.

The ruling, based on three cases decided together, struck down the Oaxaca state ban. The decision is partly based on a February ruling from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that found governments could not discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.

However, the opinion does not strike down gay marriage bans across the nation. This is because Mexico’s Supreme Court does not have the power to render all identical statutes unenforceable in this manner. Instead, certain case rulings have a kind of cumulative effect where, if five consecutive decisions are issued with identical conclusions about a particular statute then, taking this topic as an example, all state laws that de facto ban gay marriage could be struck down.

Three amparos, the term given cases of this kind, have been rendered here, so two more are required to invoke this kind of action. That could be a relatively quick process because Mexico’s Supreme Court tends to work on a very quick schedule when compared to the United States Supreme Court and there are already rumored to be a number of other amparos cases waiting to be filed.

That said, it may be that five identical cases are not necessary. Given the nature of the court’s decision, that it was unanimous, it could be that states will decide that rather than defend the statutes in court they will move to change their statute to make marriage gay-inclusive.

There is even more good news to come out of this ruling.

Due to the fact that the Supreme Court invoked the Inter-American Accord on Human Rights, there may now be precedent for all other Latin American countries who have signed to the accord to determine that de facto bans on gay marriage are unlawful. This, for instance, could have an impact on cases in Chile where a case against the country’s gay marriage ban hinges in part on the Inter-American Accord on Human Rights.

Hunter Carter, a New York-based lawyer representing three Chilean couples, is quoted as saying, ”Today’s decision in Mexico is a victory for human dignity, equality and family. It will greatly reinforce arguments in the U.S., Chile, and in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, that equal access to marriage for committed same-sex couples is a human right.”

As to how wide ranging this decision will be, this will largely depend on the way Mexico’s Supreme Court has chosen to frame its decision, something we will not know until the court issues its full opinion in the coming weeks.

In 2010 the nation’s capital Mexico City began granting gay marriage licenses, an action that survived what the Supreme Court called “inappropriate” legal challenges made by several religious conservative leaders.  The Supreme Court later ruled that all of Mexico’s 31 states must honor the marriages carried out in Mexico City.


Related Reading:

Mexico City Legislators Pass Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Mexico City’s Gay Adoption Rights Upheld by Supreme Court

Gay Marriages Must be Honored by All States Says Mexico’s Supreme Court


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Image credit: Thinkstock.

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1:40PM PST on Dec 30, 2012

So, soon the US will be surrounded by more democratic and liberal countries. What says you to that, you who hate Mexico but embraces marriage equality?
Congrats to Mexico and I hope this decision will encourage other countries (including US) to do the same.

2:33AM PST on Dec 20, 2012

Thanks for the info.

4:09AM PST on Dec 19, 2012

Good shot, people! Buen tiro, gente! In particular because people belonging to Spanish culture get in troubles when they have to face the subject "sex". On the contrary, here in Italy the German Sheperd is still laying down his «nein!»; but You know, even thirteen British colonies served a Tea Party when they got fed up... ]:->

7:05PM PST on Dec 18, 2012

Great news. I finally see progress in some parts of this world and it makes me hopeful.

6:31AM PST on Dec 18, 2012


3:30AM PST on Dec 18, 2012

Good to hear, now only if the US would open their eyes.

9:42PM PST on Dec 17, 2012


3:27PM PST on Dec 17, 2012

thanks for the post.

8:05AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

Thank you!

5:06AM PST on Dec 17, 2012

This is wonderful !

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