The court’s decision makes it clear that any law that considers the purpose of marriage to be “procreation, and/or defines it as a union between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.”
While the order does not abolish existing state laws banning same-sex marriages, it allows gay couples to turn to district courts individually. Judges are now obliged to grant gay couples a marriage license if they file an injunction with the court disputing the local ban.
The bill, however, stalled due to the influence of the conservative Head of Government of the Federal District Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
It was not until November 16, 2006, under the administration of progressive Alejandro Encinas, that Mexico City passed the Cohabitation Law. The legislation went into effect in 2007 and recognized certain legal claims for all couples living together, regardless of sex, such as inheritances, Social Security benefits, subrogation, and child custody.
In 2009, the same state legislature reformed its Civil Code, legalizing gay marriage and granting same-sex couples adoption rights. At the time, only the National Action Party (PAN) and the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVE) opposed the bill, while five legislators from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) abstained.
A Long Battle
While the Supreme Court has previously ruled in favor of individual same-sex couples, enabling them to receive an injunction and get married, very few of Mexico’s 31 states have legalized gay marriage within their jurisdictions.
Since the 2009 landmark law when Mexico City became the first Latin-American jurisdiction to allow gay marriages, strong opposition has emerged to counter the move. In the past, both the PAN and PRI parties have attempted to collect enough signatures to have the law declared unconstitutional.
The Catholic church in Mexico has also called for its repeal. At the time, the Archdioceses of Mexico called the law “immoral” and said “the Church does not condemn people, but [does condemn] homosexual acts and the marriage of two same-sex individuals.”
Several LGBT associations and Mexican civil-society groups have welcomed the Supreme Court’s latest decision on the issue. “It’s a historic step toward recognizing the rights of the sexual-diversity community,” the National Council to Prevent Discrimination celebrated in a press release.
Beyond marriage rights, the Supreme Court’s ruling also forbids any policy that “discriminates against someone on the basis of sexual orientation.”