May 12, 2014 | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay Mexican couple seeks right to marry

Supreme Court, Mexico, gay news, Washington Blade

The Supreme Court of Mexico (Photo public domain)

A gay Mexican couple seeking the right to legally marry on Monday filed a formal complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in D.C.

The couple, who remain anonymous, say an official in the state where they live denied their request to tie the knot.

The two men have sought legal recourse — known as an “amparo” in the Mexican judicial system — that would allow them to marry. Hunter T. Carter, a New York-based lawyer representing the couple, notes one of the men who is living with HIV does not have access to his partner’s medical benefits — and medications used to treat the virus — because they lack legal recognition.

“Every day that they cannot be legally married, his health and their family are threatened more,” said Carter.

The Mexican Supreme Court last month ruled in favor of 39 people who challenged the constitutionality of a Oaxacan law that bans gay marriage. The same tribunal in 2012 ruled in favor of three same-sex couples who separately sought legal recourse that would allow them to marry in the state.

Gays and lesbians have been able to marry in Mexico City since 2010. Same-sex couples have also sought to exchange vows in Jalisco, Chihuahua, Quintana Roo and other Mexican states as the issue gains additional traction in the country.

The Mexican Supreme Court in January ruled the same-sex spouses of those who receive benefits under the country’s social security system must receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts.

Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera argued against the “new definition of marriage” in a brief filed last November with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBT advocacy group, filed on behalf of three same-sex couples who are seeking the ability to tie the knot in the South American country. The New York City Bar Association — of which Carter is a member — last month filed a brief with the Colombian Constitutional Court on behalf of two gay couples who are challenging efforts to nullify their unions.

Same-sex couples are able to legally marry in Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and 18 U.S. states and D.C.

“The Americas are in the vanguard of marriage equality: the majority of same-sex couples in the hemisphere live where they can get married, or if married elsewhere can have their marital rights recognized,” said Carter. “But many, as in Chile and Mexico, still cannot because their leaders still practice a pure discrimination that is unsustainable under international human rights law and constitutional principles of the equal protection of the laws.”

“We call upon the Inter-American Commission immediately to hold substantive hearings on these applications and on the denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples generally,” he added.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • I maguey American male citizen husband who is a citizen of Mexico and I am going through this very thing. Four days before we were to leane for the state of Washington to be married in a civil ceremony his recently renewed ten year travel VISA was stolen by a Mexican policewoman in a traffic stop.

    Duly following the law reported his visa as stolen and apply for a renewal visa at the US consulate in Juarez Mexico. His request would just was denied as he was assumed to be a flight risk although not ever violated crossing rules. No more than 72 hours, keep primary home in Mexico, etc. He crossed for no more than three times per week. The State Department employee took his application refused to even look at this evidence which included his work records. He’s due to retire within two years with 100% of earnings pension and lifetime insurance from his job as a district supervisor for the Chihuahua school system. He has his masters of education which was given to him by the MIT of Mexico and graduated top of his class.

    We are married after 19 years and six months together in Mexico City on July 26, 2014.

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