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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August,2 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 31
Mexican state of Colima legalizes civil unions
Section One
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Mexican state of Colima legalizes civil unions

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The state of Colima, on Mexico's Pacific coast, has become the second Mexican state to legalize same-sex civil unions. Coahuila did so in 2007.

The Distrito Federal, which includes Mexico City, and the southern state of Quintana Roo have legalized same-sex marriage. Quintana Roo's neighbor, Yucatán, banned same-sex marriage in 2009, but Mexico's Supreme Court has ruled that legal Gay and Lesbian marriages must be recognized in every state.

Civil unions in Colima required an amendment to the state's constitution, passed by the state congress and then approved by municipal authorities.

LITTLE OPPOSITION
Colima's congress passed the measure with only two dissenting votes, and those members wished to offer full marriage equality instead of limiting Gay and Lesbian couples to civil unions. The measure was then approved by seven of Colima's ten municipalities.

Mexico's largest left-wing party, the Party of Democratic Revolution, which controls the government of Mexico City, favors marriage equality, while the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, which controls the presidency of the country, favors civil unions. The right-wing National Action Party, which has ties to the Catholic Church, opposes both.

While the Mexican Supreme Court has ruled that all states must recognize legal same-sex marriages, it does not have the authority to strike down state laws, so each state must decide on its own whether to allow Gay and Lesbian couples to marry.

PROGRESS ELSEWHERE
Several Brazilian states have also legalized same-sex marriages, and a Supreme Court decision in May said that same-sex couples must be accorded the same rights as opposite-sex spouses. A bill is pending in Brazil's congress to legalize same-sex marriage for the whole country.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in Uruguay in April this year, and in Argentina in 2010.

In 2011, Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled that same-sex couples had a right to form families, and they gave the country's congress till June 30 this year to come up with a legal way for them to do that. When lawmakers failed to pass legislation by the deadline, judges began ordering marriages. At least one has taken place so far with one more scheduled.

In July the Costa Rican legislature passed an ambiguously worded bill that some legal experts claimed could legalize same-sex civil unions, but the bill's sponsors said the language was intended to refer only to opposite-sex couples.

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