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Mexico’s Supreme Court Dismisses ‘Inappropriate’ Cases Against District’s Gay Marriage Law

Mexico’s Supreme Court Dismisses ‘Inappropriate’ Cases Against District’s Gay Marriage Law

On Friday, Mexico’s Supreme Court chose to dismiss three of six challenges facing Mexico City’s gay marriage law. The legislation, which was passed in December, 2009, has faced staunch opposition from many quarters of the largely Roman Catholic nation, despite the fact that its effect is limited only to the federal district itself. On Top Magazine reports:

The court said the challenges brought by the governors of three states controlled by the conservative PAN Party were “clearly inappropriate.”

 

The decision, written by Minister Sergio Valls, said the states did not have the legal authority to challenge the laws of another state or the nation’s federal district of Mexico City.

 

The court’s ruling applies to lawsuits submitted by the states of Morelos, Guanajuato and Tlaxcala.

 

Two of the remaining challenges are from the states of Sonora and Jalisco. Governors for those states (also PAN members) claim that Mexico City’s recognition of same-sex marriage may force neighboring states to do the same, but this is clearly something that, to date, has yet to convince the court. Still to be addressed is a separate federal case in which President Felipe Calderon and Mexico’s Attorney General have challenged the law, calling it unconstitutional.

From Pink News:

 

A statement from the federal Attorney General’s Office said the law “violates the principle of legality, because it strays from the constitutional principle of protecting the family”.

 

This has angered Mexico City’s leftist lawmakers who say that it is not the place of the federal government to interfere with the district’s laws. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard has called the federal appeal a “grave mistake.” Ebrard faced pressure from religious quarters to veto the gay marriage law, but he refused to do so, and has now said that he will fight the appeal.

Cardinal Noberto Rivera Carrera, a Roman Catholic archbishop, previously called the law perverse and said it would harm “innocent children.”

Similarly, grassroots opposition to the law, which, by changing the definition of marriage to “the free uniting of two people” grants same-sex couples in Mexico City the right to marry and also the right to adopt, largely centers on the issue of child welfare.

The organization “Man+Woman=Marriage,” for instance, is currently trying to collect 50,000 signatures from Mexican voters to present to Mexico City’s Legislative Assembly to stop the law coming into effect, saying that the initiative “aims to protect children, whose rights will be harmed by [being adopted by same-sex couples] instead of by a family consisting of a father and mother.” They add that the reform “goes against the institution of the family.”

While the case is not directly connected, it may be worth noting that, when Mexico City’s controversial 2007 abortion law was challenged by the Attorney General on constitutional grounds, the Supreme Court ruled 8-to-3 in favor of the law. In a follow up brief in 2009, the Supreme Court reiterated that, while it upheld Mexico City’s abortion law, the law is limited to the federal district and does not impact the autonomy of neighboring states and their own ability to make laws regarding abortion (as demonstrated by the fact that many quickly adopted constitutional bans).

While this was, of course, a very different case, the Supreme Court’s prior ruling may at least provide some kind of insight into the mindset of the court, its past decisions regarding Mexico City’s liberal leaning laws, and how far the district’s autonomy extends.

Mexico City’s gay marriage law should go into effect in March. The federal challenge to the gay marriage law looks set to be heard in May.


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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Marlith.

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52 comments

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6:25PM PDT on Aug 26, 2010

I congratulate Mexico City's stance on this subject and must admit that I am surprised. As must as conservatives dislike this decision, the 'cat is out of the bag' and cannot be, completely, put back in.

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4:23PM PDT on Jul 21, 2010

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4:21PM PDT on Jul 21, 2010

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4:44PM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

I am tired of " protecting the family" argument. More than half end in divorce. Many children and their mothers sre left in poverty after a divorce. Where are the people, who want to protect marriage, in those cases?

1:45PM PST on Mar 2, 2010

So really to some it is only about sex.. is that what makes a marriage.. sex.. No it is love that makes a marriage not sex.. sex is just a part of it, and in truth not even that big a part and yet it is the total focus of many,not their own sex lives but other peoples sex lives and I have have to wonder why.

3:07PM PST on Feb 28, 2010

Great to see some progressive attitude :

5:54AM PST on Feb 25, 2010

" Marriage by convention... That is the biblical view and that held by Orthodox christians who accept the bible in its entirity. The more liberal churches take a different view, this has caused problems of its own, the splitting of the Anglican Communion."

1. Bibles don't have views, human beings do. That includes those who write scripture from the perspective of a given historical and cultural context and those who read them from their own contextual perspectives. Those who would insist upon applying 1st CE middle eastern contextual values to a 21st CE western culture have the burden of persuasion as to why that would be reasonable.

2. Speaking of "Orthodox Christians" in terms of what is essentially a scriptural literalist perspective is both self-serving and meaningless. Orthodoxy means that all Christians hold a given understanding as a condition for claiming the faith. That has probably never been true and certainly isn't today. Homophobia is not an article of faith, it's a social prejudice no matter how it's dressed up.

3. As a priest in an Anglican tradition, reports of our "split" are greatly exagerated. There have always been Anglicans who have deserted the church when it shed itself of yet one more layer of archaic understanding and practice, to wit, the departure of some Anglicans when women were ordained. But the Communion remains together, slimmer and trimmer with the departure of those who have elevated homophobia to an article of faith.

5:43AM PST on Feb 25, 2010

"Marriage by convention, has always been between a man and woman who wish to spend of their lives together and for the conceiving of issue, should they so wish."

Of course, your first statement is historically demonstrably false. Marriage has historically been a property arrangement of the wealthy and a means of legitimating children to receive inheritance. Often such arrangements included polygamous marriages such as Solomon's or serial polygamous marriages such as Henry VIII's (or Elizabeth Taylor). For the vast majority of human history, marriage has simply not applied to most couples since they had nothing to protect or bequeath. Couples simply lived together and held themselves out as a monogamously faithful couple which, when recognized by the community, allowed that coupling to attain social respect.

Legal protections of such couples is a relatively modern innovation which rises with a middle class with a modicum of property. Same sex marriage simply extends such protections to same sex couples.

It is always the tendency of a majority group to see its experience as normative for the whole of society. Statistical prevalence of an experience within a population often comes to be seen in moral terms - everyone is either like us or ought to be (and there's something wrong with them if they're not). Common ways of legitimating that understanding is to appeal to nature, to tradition and to G-d.

6:37PM PST on Feb 24, 2010

Love doesnt come with a penis or a vagina love doesnt come with long hair or a mustache love doesnt come with a dress or some slacks love is just for everyone so everyone relax!!! :)

5:57PM PST on Feb 23, 2010

Cathy L...
Love to your family..I'm not gay yet know many gay families and worked in child care for many years...I could write a thesis on how I feel about this topic yet Cathy I thank you for sharing...finally someone who tells it like it is!

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