Gay marriage victory in Mexican Supreme Court, Uruguay set to legalize as well

Gay marriage advocates won a huge victory in Mexico  yesterday.

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled yesterday against a local ordinance in the state of Oaxaca that banned gay marriage. Legal observers are saying that this could lead to the recognition of gay marriages nationwide, as couples in other states sue under the new Supreme Court ruling.

I never cease to be amazed at how many countries, and which countries, around the world are ahead of the US on this basic civil and human right. I grew up being taught that America was the greatest and freest country on earth. We’re pretty great, and we’re rather free. But the -est has been lacking in certain areas (health insurance and gay rights, for starters) for a while now.

First Salon explains the gay marriage ruling:

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Mexico has paved the way for same-sex couples to marry in every one of the country’s 31 states before the U.S. has federal marriage equality.

Gay marriage has been legal in the Federal District, Mexico City, since 2010, and the Supreme Court had previously ruled that those marriages must be recognized nationwide. Wednesday’s ruling struck down a law in the southern state of Oaxaca that denied same-sex couples the right to marry there.

The ruling could have repercussions beyond Mexico’s borders. The couples seeking to marry in the Oaxaca case based their claims partly on protections in the American Convention on Human Rights, which has legal force in many Latin American countries. In saying that bans on same-sex marriage are discriminatory, the court may establish a precedent that could be used by LGBT activists throughout the region.

And this from Animal Politico, apparently a Mexican news site, on the gay marriage ruling:

mexico gay marriage

Mexico via Shutterstock

La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) eliminó del Código Civil de Oaxaca el artículo 143 que establecía que el matrimonio sólo es entre un hombre y una mujer.

A partir de hoy, se sustituye con la resolución de la Corte, que implica matrimonios “entre dos personas”, por lo que no importa si son de distintos sexos o del mismo….

Por ahora los tres casos son tesis aisladas, pero sientan el precedente para que cualquier pareja del país se ampare para poder ser reconocida como matrimonio.

The article basically says the court ruled that “marriage” is  now “between two people,” regardless of gender, and this should help other gay couples in other parts of the country seeming the right to marry.

Basically, as After Marriage Blog explains, in Mexico the Supreme Court does not have the power to simultaneously strike down laws across the country, but this victory sets the stage for gay marriage victories across the country now:

This ruling does not immediately eliminate marriage statutes limiting unions to a man and a woman—the Mexican Supreme Court doesn’t have the power to strike down state laws like that en mass as the United States Supreme Court does. But the lawyer who brought the case, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, said before the ruling that victory would mean the beginning of the end for bans on same-sex marriage.

I’m still blown away that in traditionally Catholic countries, and Latin countries to boot, marriage equality is proceeding ahead of the US. Simply amazing.  Oh, and a friend tells me that Uruguay is on the way towards legalization gay marriage legislatively.  It should pass the Chamber of Deputies on December 11 by a healthy margin, then go to the Senate early next year and do even better.

Gay marriage is now legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, south Africa, Spain, Sweden and Mexico (marriages can only be performed in Mexico City, but they’re recognized nationwide, and yesterday’s decision could lead to nationwide marriage rights soon).

Amazing.  Never thought I’d see it in my lifetime.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • billyw

    btw the vote was unanimous in Brazil, Mexico and columabia by their supreme courts

  • billy wingartenson

    Mexico has far to long been ruled by a corrupt cabal of politicians and the catholic church, whose key objextive is control and sucking the money out of this poor county

    The world wil have arrived at a new milleniium when the church is bankrupted to pay for its endless horrible crimes eg the hatred of Jews that led to wWII and the holocaust which also inncluded about 50,000 gays

    Hopefully the vAtian will become a new sewer pumping station for rome.

  • Russia is quickly becoming a third world pariah like Uganda.Booo Go Mexico! Yea!!!!!!!

  • The United States was the first country to metricize its currency, yet we still use a system from the Middle Ages is daily life. I personally declared my independence during the bicentennial, yet I’ve found no one else in the United States who uses the metric system regularly. So, John, every other country except Burma (Myanmar) and our former slave colony of Liberia, are ahead of us.

  • Si, se puede! Ya conoce!

  • FunMe

    Que viva Mexico!

  • BobK

    Not just Mexico city. There was some other province, starting with Q that same sex marriage could take place in.

  • There are no depths to which America would not descend to appease the fictions of Christianists.

  • I take the position that same sex marriage is an absurd red herring. All couple contracts should be secular and uniform throughout the federal union. All couples should have ALL rights and quarantines. Until that happens, gay marriages are not equal. Religious ceremonies should never be considered equal to the law binding of civil contracts.

  • ronbo

    I carefully chose the words “could be considered”. Because in all reality they now more politically advanced just lower socioeconomic status – on average. But hey…America is moving their direction “with a bullet”.

  • rmthunter

    I wouldn’t be so amazed that gay civil rights are making such strides in “traditionally Catholic” Latin America — yes, the population is overwhelmingly Catholic, but I suspect their attitude toward the bishops is close to the attitude of US Catholics — meh. It’s been the local priests and nuns who have been out running hospitals and distributing condoms, not the bishops. And remember, too, that the Church has traditionally been one of the oppressors — allied with, first, the Spaniards, then the rich landowners and the dictators. With the rise of democratic governments, the hierarchy doesn’t seem to have nearly the political clout that it does here.

  • FLL

    According the Colombian Supreme Court’s order, marriage equality will automatically go into effect on June 20, 2013.

  • FLL

    The pro-equality influence of the French Revolution took a little longer in Mexico than in Western and Central Europe, but Mexico adopted the Napoleonic code and struck down all anti-gay sodomy laws in 1871. Mexico beat the U.S. to legalization of gay sex by 132 years. Also, Mexico transitioned from a third-world country to an industrialized country quite some time ago. And it’s no secret that Mexican-Americans have almost the highest support for gay rights of any demographic in the U.S., about the same as Jewish Americans. Look up the poll numbers if you don’t believe me. No one really needs to look down their nose at Mexico.

  • Stev84

    The Colombian legislature is also considering marriage equality. And that’s after the highest court told them to do something or it will automatically go into effect in 2013

  • Indigo

    Third world, eh? Well, if you must see it that way, then you might have a misleading impression. But if you must, you must. To add insult to injury, then, consider this: Mexico, like many other progressive countries, uses the metric standard. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

  • ronbo

    The United States is behind what could be considered a third-world nation. How low can the USA go?

  • Indigo

    ¡Viva México!

  • caphillprof

    To the extent there is a conservative party in the United States, it is the Democrats and not the Republicans (although the later protray themselves as “conservative”).

    Andrew Sullivan has been arguing for several decades that same sex marriage is the conservative position since it is the position that conserves the historic institution of marriage.

    I feel confident that the early gay rights activists, many long dead, would be astonished by same sex marriage. They were in a position to liberate a people who had been marginalized into the role of eunuchs and had to establish each individuals worth despite the conventions of traditional households. It is only after the individual is rehabilitated as, in the words of Angels in America, “citizens” that the issue of their civil rights including the right to marry (which is a legal construct, not a religious construct. Only individuals go to heaven even if Mormon families go somewhere else.) that the issue of same sex marriage can arise.

    Latin cultures including Mexico have an innate sense of family and it is that which brings them to the conservative position of same sex marriage. The Church may oppose same sex marriage because of its Eunuch clergy but the parishioners do not.

    It is only American Republicans who are out of step with the universe.

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