The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Víctor Aguirre Espinoza and Fernando Urias Amparo on Jan. 8 had a mandatory meeting with Angelica Guadalupe González Sánchez, president of the Coalition of Baja California Families.
The newspaper noted that González wrote in a complaint she filed with Mexicali officials that the two men became “aggressive and impertinent” because she refused to confirm they attended the meeting. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that González’s husband told Aguirre and Urias their counseling sessions were only open to heterosexual couples.
Aguirre and Urias, along with roughly 100 people who included relatives and friends and same-sex marriage, gathered outside Mexicali City Hall on Saturday ahead of their scheduled wedding. Opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians — many of whom wore surgical masks with ‘only man and woman’ written on them — were also present.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported an official told Aguirre and Urias their wedding had been cancelled because of González’s complaint.
“It only demonstrates our government’s poor response towards society and the society of (the state) of Baja California is ignorant,” Urias told the Washington Blade on Sunday.
Lawyer: Mexicali officials violating Mexican Constitution
Aguirre, 43, and Urias, 37, are hairstylists who have been together for 11 years.
The couple in June 2013 sought legal resource — known as an “amparo” in the Mexican judicial system — that would allow them to marry.
The Mexican Supreme Court last June ruled Aguirre and Urias can marry.
The two men in November had been scheduled to become the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Baja California, but Mexicali officials refused to allow them to exchange vows because of what they described as problems with their paperwork. Authorities a few weeks later once again blocked Aguirre and Urias from exchanging vows.
“The authorities of Mexicali, Baja California, are violating with impunity the Federal Constitution (of Mexico) and international treaties on the subject of human rights,” Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, a Mexico City-based lawyer who represents Aguirre and Urias, told the Blade on Sunday. “We will take action with all the means at our disposal and we will demand justice for Victor and Fernando until the end.”
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City since 2010. Gays and lesbians have been able to tie the knot in the state of Coahuila since September 2013.
The Mexican Supreme Court in April 2014 ruled in favor of 39 people who challenged the constitutionality of a Oaxacan law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The same tribunal in 2012 ruled in favor of three same-sex couples represented by Méndez who separately sought legal recourse that would allow them to exchange vows in the state.
Gays and lesbians in Jalisco, Chihuahua, Quintana Roo and several other Mexican states have also sought legal recourse through the country’s legal system that would allow them to legally marry in their respective jurisdictions.
A gay Mexican couple seeking marriage rights in Mexico in May 2014 filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in D.C.
Hunter T. Carter, a New York-based lawyer who represents the couple in their case at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, described Mexicali officials decision to once again prevent Aguirre and Urias from marrying as “insane and nothing short of cruel.”
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2012 ruled in favor of lesbian Chilean Judge Karen Atala who lost custody of her three daughters to her ex-husband in 2005 because of her sexual orientation. The Mexican Supreme Court cited the landmark case in its 2012 ruling that extended marriage rights to the three Oaxacan same-sex couples.
Mexico is under the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
“The Inter-American Court on Human Rights has specifically ruled against using sexual orientation to deny parental and family rights,” Carter told the Blade. “Over and over again, the courts in Mexico including the Supreme Court of Justice, have ruled in favor of couples seeking civil marriage rights, but local officials are repeatedly blocking their progress with complete disregard for the rule of law. This is bordering on a constitutional crisis, and the central government needs to take responsibility and act.”
Couple ‘only seeking respect’
Urias told the Blade that he and Aguirre are “only seeking respect.”
He said they remain hopeful they will have the opportunity to legally marry in Mexicali.
“We are certain that this will be,” Urias told the Blade. “The case has already been won.”