Mexico’s Supreme Court has effectively legalized same-sex marriage after finding that state laws restricting marriage only to heterosexual couples were discriminatory.
“When I heard the judge pronounce us legally married, I burst into tears,” Hiram Gonzalez told The New York Times. Gonzalez married his boyfriend, Severiano Chavez, last year in the state of Chihuahua after acquiring a special injunction. Like most of Mexico’s 31 states, Chihuahua had banned same-sex marriage, but Mexico’s Supreme Court has been slowly knocking down those laws while circumventing state legislatures.
Since Mexico City legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, over 5,000 couples have wed in the capital. In 2010, the Supreme Court upheld Mexico City’s law, also authorizing other states to recognize marriages performed there. Then this month the Supreme Court went a step further, decreeing state laws banning gay marriage discriminatory.
According to the ruling:
As the purpose of matrimony is not procreation, there is no justified reason that the matrimonial union be heterosexual, nor that it be stated as between only a man and only a woman. Such a statement turns out to be discriminatory in its mere expression.
This, however, is not the be all, end all in the fight for marriage equality. The ruling doesn’t automatically strike down state marriage laws, but rather allows gay couples denied marriage in their state to seek injunctions from district judges, who are now obligated to grant them. Lawyers will then attempt to compile enough injunctions for the court to formally order state legislatures to lift their bans.
While it’s a long and complicated process, for Gonzalez and Chavez, it’s “not just the legal battle” but “a fight for your dignity.”
With Mexico to the south of us and Canada to the north, the U.S. is now flanked by same-sex marriage on the countdown to equality. So it’s only a matter of time before North America is the gayest continent on the planet. Sorryboutit, Europe.
Les Fabian Brathwaite — vamos a casarnos down Mexican way.