Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled by an overwhelming majority on Monday to uphold the adoption rights of Mexico City’s same-sex couples.
States Must Honor Mexico City’s Adoptions
Ruling 9-2, the Supreme Court found that it would be discriminatory to deny same-sex couples the right to adopt once they had been granted the right to marriage.
Given that the Supreme Court had already rejected the argument that same-sex marriage undermines the traditional family unit, the Court found insufficient basis to conclude that same-sex parent adoptions would have an undesirable impact on the so-called traditional family.
Equally, while the issue of child welfare was a central point of discussion, with both federal prosecutors and conservative religious opponents arguing that same-sex parent adoptions would harm children, the Court flatly rejected such a claim.
“Given that the interests of the child must come first, the proposed reform is constitutional,” said Judge Arturo Zaldivar.
Crucially, while the right to adopt is confined to Mexico City, the Court also ruled that, under its own version of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, same-sex parent rights as conferred by an adoption in Mexico City must be honored by all states.
Gay Marriage and Same-Sex Adoption Rights in Mexico City
While Argentina was the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, Mexico City was actually the first jurisdiction in Latin America to do so.
This change came about after the federal district’s lawmakers voted to amend Mexico City’s civil code so that the definition of marriage read “the free uniting of two people”, therein allowing same-sex couples to marry.
The change to the law, which was enacted in March, was, at the time, rather unique in its scope in that, by amending the civil code in this fashion, it also granted same-sex couples the right to adopt.
This change was promptly challenged by the conservative federal government, part of the National Action Party (PAN), who questioned the law’s constitutionality on the grounds that it threatened the institution of the family.
On August 5, the Court ruled that Mexico City’s gay marriage amendment was indeed constitutional in an 8-2 judgment.
The Supreme Court rejected the argument that gay marriage undermined the so-called traditional family unit, saying that individual jurisdictions, in this regard, must be able to define marriage as they see fit.
This highlighted another question. Should other jurisdictions have to recognize Mexico City’s same-sex marriages even if they themselves do not grant same-sex marriage rights?
The Attorney General argued against such a concession.
The Supreme Court disagreed with the Attorney General by a 9-2 margin, saying that all states must honor those same-sex marriages. The Court stressed, however, that this should not be read as a mandate that all states must legalize gay marriage, a distinction that was made explicit in the ruling.
Cardinal Condemned for Claiming Judges Accepted Bribes
The debate surrounding Mexico City’s gay marriage law has been incredibly heated in the predominantly Catholic country.
The Associated Press reports that, amid the opposition put forth by the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Juan Sandoval, the archbishop of Guadalajara, was unanimously rebuked by the Supreme Court after he publicly suggested this past weekend that they had been paid off by Mexico City’s Administration.
Interestingly, Mexico City’s left-leaning mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, is expected to run for President in 2012. No doubt the Administration’s support for same-sex marriage and pro-choice rights, a law that was also upheld by the Supreme Court when challenged by Mexico’s Attorney General, will feature heavily in the political campaign.