April 17, 2015 at 9:00 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Mexican Supreme Court rules against marriage ban

Supreme Court, Mexico, gay news, Washington Blade

The Mexican Supreme Court (Photo public domain)

The Mexican Supreme Court on Wednesday announced it had found a laws banning same-sex marriage are “discriminatory.”

A strongly-worded statement the court posted to its website said the majority of the judges who considered a case that challenged portions of the state of Sinaloa’s family code defining marriage between a man and a woman found them to be unconstitutional.

“The contested provisions are clearly discriminatory because the relationships in which homosexual couples engage can fit perfectly into the actual fundamentals of marriage and living together and raising a family,” reads the statement. “For all of those relevant effects, homosexual couples can find themselves in an equivalent situation to heterosexual couples, in such a way that their exclusion from both institutions is totally unjustified.”

The ruling is in response to a petition for legal recourse — known as an “amparo” in the Mexican legal system — that a gay couple filed against the Sinaloan family code in April 2013.

Ana Lidia Murillo Camacho, an LGBT rights advocate in the Sinaloan capital of Culiacán, told the Washington Blade on Thursday in an email that she welcomes the ruling.

“It recognizes the legitimacy (of the Sinaloan LGBT community) and creates conditions for the free exercise of sexuality within the framework of human rights,” said Murillo. “The SCJN (the Spanish acronym for the Mexican Supreme Court) also sends a message that reminds society and its institutions to strive for a democratic state with human rights.”

Geraldina González de la Vega, a Mexican lawyer, agreed.

“Yesterday’s decision was without a doubt relevant for the state of Sinaloa and especially for the LGBTI community,” she told the Blade. “It therefore reiterates the court’s sustained criteria that laws that establish heterosexual marriage are contrary to the Constitution.”

Sinaloa marriage ruling ‘a battle won’

Gays and lesbians have been able to marry in Mexico City since 2010. Same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Coahuila last September.

The Mexican Supreme Court in April 2014 ruled in favor of more than three dozen people who challenged the constitutionality of a Oaxacan law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The same tribunal in 2013 ruled in favor of three same-sex couples who separately sought legal recourse that would allow them to exchange vows in the state.

The Mexican Supreme Court last June ruled a gay couple from the city of Mexicali could legally marry after they filed an “amparo.” The two men — Victor Fernando Urias Amparo and Victor Manuel Aguirre Espinoza — were finally able to tie the knot in January after local officials repeatedly blocked them from exchanging vows.

Gays and lesbians have also been able to legally marry in Guanajuato, Querétaro and Quintana Roo. Same-sex couples in Jalisco, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato, México, Chiapas and numerous other Mexican states have also petitioned for marriage rights in their respective jurisdictions.

A gay Mexican couple seeking marriage rights in the country last May filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

González noted to the Blade that nuptials for gays and lesbians will only “become a reality” throughout the country once there are nearly 140 rulings — or five from each state in which same-sex couples cannot legally marry — from the Mexican Supreme Court.

“Yesterday’s decision was just part of this big puzzle…a battle won,” she said.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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