Gay marriage in Mexico City

Updated December 29.

Mexico City has passed a law legalizing gay and lesbian marriage, upgrading the rights available to same-sex couples from the civil unions that were already permitted. Mexico’s capital city now may beat Washington D.C. in performing it’s first legal gay marriage.

From the AP:

Only seven countries allow gay marriages: Canada, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Belgium. In the United States, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Iowa permit same-sex marriage. Uruguay alone has legalized civil unions nationwide.

Argentina – which has some local laws permitted gay marriage – has had it’s first legal marriage, although it may still be challenged. The local effort is part of a spreading cultural conflict in Mexico:

The city’s leftwing mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, of the Democratic Revolution party, had been widely expected to sign the measure into law. The assembly [in Mexico City] has made several decisions that have been unpopular elsewhere in the deeply Roman Catholic country, including legalising abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. That sparked a backlash, with the majority of Mexico’s other 32 states enacting legislation declaring that life begins at conception.

Official Catholicdom was not happy:

“They have given Mexicans the most bitter Christmas,” Armando Martinez, the president of the College of Catholic Attorneys, was quoted as saying in the Associated Press. “They are permitting adoption [by gay couples] and in one stroke of the pen have erased the term ‘mother’ and ‘father.’ “

(That Christian Science Monitor story, under the headline “Mexico City move to allow gay marriage irks some residents,” quoted one resident, other than the official above, expressing his irkedness.)

The new law permits gay and lesbian couples to “adopt, apply for bank loans, inherit wealth,  and be included in the insurance policies of their partner,”  which had not been permitted under the civil union law. The language in the law, which defines marriage as “the free uniting of two people,” is an inspiring ideal.

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