Mexico’s Supreme Court quietly legalizes same-sex marriage

In a little-publicized “jurisprudential thesis” issued earlier this month, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that state laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional. The thesis comes after multiple same-sex couples had won their right to marry by appealing to the nation’s highest court.

The ruling was not strong enough to overturn any existing state laws, meaning that couples denied marriage licenses will have to go through the court systems individually. However, this was still heralded as good news by The New York Times, which described the series of rulings as having “had the effect of legalizing gay marriage in Mexico without enshrining it in law.”

Support for same-sex marriage in Mexico eclipsed the 50 percent threshold in recent years, a shift that has mirrored trends in public opinion in many other countries. The ruling adds Mexico to a growing list of Latin American countries that allow same-sex marriage, which currently includes Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Ecuador allows same-sex civil unions, and Chile is set to follow suit later this year.

Rainbow Mexico, via Wikimedia Commons

Rainbow Mexico, via Wikimedia Commons

Mexico’s ruling, along with Ireland’s referendum that granted its same-sex couples the right to marry in May, is a major blow to the Catholic Church. Over 80 percent of Mexican citizens are Catholic, and they support marriage equality at rates identical to the general public (unsurprising when the demographic makes up such a large portion of the overall sample).

That Catholicism is not predictive of opposition to marriage equality suggests that the Church simply lacks credibility on the issue. To the extent that rank and file Catholics pay attention to the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, they either aren’t listening or are outwardly disagreeing.

Which is fine, even for the Church, given that their condemnation of homosexuality is wrong on their own theological terms.

Mexico’s rulings also come in advance of what is expected to be a much more widely-reported affirmation of marriage equality by the United States Supreme Court later this month. Now we get to hurry up and wait for that ruling.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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