Two cities are expected to begin
handing out marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples this week.
A gay marriage law in the District of
Columbia is expected to take effect Wednesday, but couples will have
to wait the customary 3 days before tying the knot, making Saturday
the earliest couples can marry.
Gay couples in Mexico City are also
anticipating the start of a gay marriage law, most likely on
Thursday, March 4. Mexico City's gay marriage law 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 governments of both cities have had
to overcome similar obstacles to approve their law: interference from
DC's gay marriage law faced rejection
by Congress, which has final say on laws approved by the DC Council.
Republicans – led by Utah lawmakers
both in the House and the Senate – attempted to do away with the
law, but appear to have failed. Senator Bob Bennett and
Representative Jason Chaffetz both introduced resolutions that sought
to overturn the measure.
“The determination of marriage
affects every person and should be debated openly, lawfully and
democratically,” Bennett said.
Both measures remain bottled up in
committees as the law reaches the finish line.
Mexico's federal government appealed to
the country's Supreme Court in an effort to derail the start of the
law. The federal Attorney General's Office argued that the law was
unconstitutional because it “strays from the responsibility of the
government to place a priority on safeguarding the interests of
While the court has yet to review the
federal challenge, it upheld the law last week in rejecting
challenges brought by the governors of three states controlled by the
conservative PAN Party. The governors had argued that the law would
force their state governments to recognize the marriages of gay
couples from Mexico City. The court, however, 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.
Mass weddings are being planned for
Up to 400 couples are expected to
exchange vows on Saturday, March 20 in the District in an attempt to
break the current Guinness World Record. The event, titled “Our
Time Has Come,” is being hosted by GLBT
Mexico City officials say plans for two
mass weddings to take place on March 13 and 20 are in the works.
BREAKING UPDATE: Opponents of DC's gay
marriage law have appealed
to the Supreme Court to halt its start.