Mexico’s Supreme Court Upholds Freedom to Marry Law

On Top Magazine
February 19, 2010

Mexico's Supreme Court on Friday rejected three out of five challenges to Mexico City's freedom to marry law, El Universal reported.

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.

The law – approved in December and expected to take effect on March 4 – is a first for Latin America. It gives gay and lesbian couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including the right to adopt children. Previously, the city government recognized gay couples with civil unions, but gay adoption was banned.

The governors had argued that the law was unconstitutional and will force their state governments to recognize the marriages of gay couples.

“These reforms could obligate the states and municipalities to recognize marriages between same-sex couples and so, in Jalisco, the same rights recognized for matrimony in its laws would be awarded to them,” Jalisco Secretary General of Government Fernando Guzman said in a statement.

Guzman also said the law would hurt children.

“What we are protecting is marriage and children, so that children who are adopted have the right to a family, and a family consisting of a father and a mother,” he told the Guadalajara-based newspaper Publico.

The court has yet to review challenges by two additional states – Sonora and Jalisco – and another by the federal government of President Felipe Calderon, who is also a member of the PAN.

The Roman Catholic Church has widely criticized the law. Mexico's Roman Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Noberto Rivera Carrera, has called the law “immoral” and “reprehensible.”

Mexico City is the nation's seat of government and also its largest city. Nearly 10% of Mexicans call the city home.

A recent poll found a majority (46%) of residents approve of the law, 43% oppose it, and 11% are undecided.  [Link]