Starting Thursday, gay marriage is
legal in Mexico City.
Lawmakers approved the law that gives
gay couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage,
including the right to adopt children, in December. Previously, the
city government recognized gay couples with civil unions, but gay
adoption was banned.
The law is a first for Latin America.
However, the first gay wedding took place late last year in
Argentina. Alejandro Freyre, 39, and Jose Maria Di Bello, 41, were
married in the state of Tierra del Fuego after its governor issued a
special decree, but gay marriage is not legal in the country.
Uruguay remains the only Latin American country to recognize gay
couples, who can apply for a civil union.
There is little chance of exporting gay
marriage to other parts of the country, which is largely controlled
by the conservative PAN Party. Mariana Gozmez del Campo, who heads
the PAN in Mexico City, said lawmakers violated the rights of minors
by allowing gay couples to adopt.
In an effort to derail the start of the
law, Mexico's federal government appealed to the country's Supreme
Court. 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 in rejecting challenges brought
by the governors of three states controlled by the 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.
Residents of Mexico's largest city –
approximately 10 million – have mixed feelings on the law. A
recent survey by the pollster BGC-Ulises Beltran found supporters
outnumbered opponents by a narrow 3% (46% vs. 43%).
Less ambiguous is the Roman Catholic
Church, which has condemned the law, especially its provision
legalizing gay adoption. Mexico's Catholic archbishop, Cardinal
Noberto Rivera Carrera, has called the law “immoral” and
Gay couples can apply for a marriage
license starting on Thursday, but processing could take up to 10
days, making next week the earliest gay couples could tie the knot.