First Same-Sex Couple To Marry In Mexico's Yucatan State
A recent ruling by Mexico's Supreme Court said that state laws restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated the country's constitution, but Mexico's complicated legal system means couples still have to sue to marry.
Ricardo Arturo Góngora and Javier Alberto Carrillo Esquivel will marry on Thursday in Mexico's southeastern Yucatan State thanks to a judge's ruling that found that the language restricting marriage to a "man and a woman" in the state constitution violated the federal constitution's anti-discrimination provision.
In its July decision, the court applied the same logic that Mexico's Supreme Court used in December to rule that three same-sex couples in the state of Oaxaca had the right to marry.
Despite these gains, and the Supreme Court's strong defense of marriage equality, complexity in the country's legal system means full marriage equality is a ways off. This week, a lesbian couple in the state of Baja California had their marriage application denied by a registrar. Several cases must be brought from each of Mexico's states before court precedent overturns the laws on the books for everybody.
Mexico's Supreme Court first ruled in 2010 that same-sex marriages performed under a Mexico City ordinance must be recognized throughout the country. It went a step further in 2012, saying that state bans on same-sex marriage violated the constitution.
Supreme Court Minister Arturo Zaldívar Lelo de Larrea wrote in his opinion in the Oaxaca case in December that it was impermissible to deny same-sex couples the right to marry because: "Their exclusion from the institution of marriage perpetuates the notion that same-sex couples are less worthy of recognition than heterosexuals, offending their dignity as people."
In addition to Ricardo and Javier's victory in Yucatan and the three couples from Oaxaca who won the Supreme Court ruling, four couples have successfully sued to marry in the state of Mexico as well as one in Colima, according to Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, the attorney who won the December Supreme Court case and is now working with couples throughout the country. Díaz said cases are pending in at least three other states.
J. Lester Feder is a BuzzFeed contributor and 2013 Alicia Patterson journalism fellow.