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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 5 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 36
Mexican state of Coahuila legalizes same-sex marriage
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Mexican state of Coahuila legalizes same-sex marriage

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Mexican state of Coahuila approved same-sex marriage on September 1, by a 19-3 vote in the state Congress. The northern Mexican state joins Mexico City and the southern state of Quintana Roo in allowing Gay and Lesbian couples to marry.

The new marriage law takes effect on September 8, and changes more than 40 parts of the state civil law code.

The bill's sponsor, Coahuila Congressman Samuel Acevedo said the changes represented 'a great step forward.'

'The way the law worked before,' Acevedo explained, 'it infringed on the rights of homosexual people and now they will get their rights ... everything which comes with marriage.'

'Marriage is the free union with full consent of two people,' the new law says, 'which has as its objective to realize community life where both [people] seek respect, equality and mutual aid, and make in a free, responsible, voluntary and informed way reproductive decisions that fit their life project, including the possibility of procreation or adoption.'

State law had previously defined marriage as a 'union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation.'

As in the United States, marriage laws fall under the jurisdiction of the states. Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, and in reaction the state of Yucatan explicitly banned it.

In 2010, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City had to be recognized in all states, even if the states did not allow their own Gay and Lesbian residents to marry.

In Quintana Roo, the progress to marriage equality was more complicated. In 2011, officials there performed two same-sex marriages after finding that the state civil code did not explicitly state the gender of people who may be married. The state governor annulled the marriages, but the secretary of state, who has the official duty of registering marriages, annulled the annulments, and ruled that Gay and Lesbian couples could be married in the future.

In 2012, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that laws barring same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, and issued orders allowing marriages in Oaxaca. In 2014, they issued similar orders for the state of Puebla.

In Mexican law, the ruling that a statute is unconstitutional does not automatically invalidate it, as it would in the United States. However, if a court issues injunctions overriding the law on five occasions, then the law is invalid.

To date, injunctions ordering same-sex marriages have been issued in 14 states, and requested in nine others.

A poll conducted in July 2013 found a significant increase in support for same-sex marriage, with 52% of Mexicans in favor of legalizing Gay and Lesbian marriages.

When broken down by religion, support was 52% among Roman Catholics and 62% among non-religious people. However, in the same poll, only 24% of respondents supported same-sex adoption.

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Mexican state of Coahuila legalizes same-sex marriage
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