Proceso, a Mexican newspaper, reported that César Duarte Jáquez’s announcement takes effect immediately.
Duarte’s announcement comes ahead of an expected ruling from the Mexican Supreme Court that Proceso said will order Chihuahuan lawmakers to decide the issue of marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The newspaper reported the decision will also require local authorities to compensate the 31 same-sex couples who had sought legal resource, known as an “amparo” in the Mexican judicial system, after they had been denied their request to marry.
Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, a lawyer who has spearheaded efforts in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples in Mexico over the last several years, on Thursday applauded Chihuahuan advocacy groups that challenged “their own state and its institutions” over the issue.
“The economic argument made more of a difference than the democratic argument of the state’s obligation not to violate human rights,” wrote Méndez on his blog after Duarte made his announcement. “This is a big step forward considering that only two years earlier the requirement of access to marriage in conditions of equality was a rather impossible demand.”
Chihuahua joins the states of Coahuila and Quintana Roo and Mexico City in which same-sex couples can legally marry.
Gays and lesbians in the states of Oaxaca, Guanajuato, Querétaro, Baja California Norte and Tamaulipas have exchanged vows.
The Mexican Supreme Court last month ruled in the case of a lesbian couple from Nuevo León — in which the city of Monterrey is located — that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Gays and lesbians in a number of other Mexican states have petitioned for marriage rights in their respective jurisdictions.
Geraldina González de la Vega, a Mexican Supreme Court clerk, wrote on her blog earlier this month the tribunal ruled that laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman are unconstitutional. Buzzfeed reported the court issued its decision in a case from the state of Colima.
A gay couple seeking marriage rights in Mexico filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in May 2014.