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Lesbian couple demand right to marry

March 13, 2013

A lesbian couple are taking their case to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) after being denied the right to marry in Guadalajara last week.

Martha Sandoval and Zaira de la O had sought to mark International Women’s Day on March 8 by becoming the first gay or lesbian couple to marry in Jalisco but they were refused by the civil registrar for “not meeting the requirements set by law.”

The pair were accompanied to the registry office by members of Lesbian Mothers in Mexico and the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights, as well as their four-month-old baby who was conceived through artificial insemination.

Jesus Rosas Lomeli, the director of Guadalajara’s civil registry, denied their marriage application on the basis that Article 258 of the Civil Code of Jalisco defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

Although same-sex marriages are generally only permitted in Mexico City, Sandoval and de la O argued that their right to marriage is guaranteed by a constitutional reform from June 2011 which banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

They cited a precedent set in Oaxaca April 2012, when a judge granted a lesbian couple permission to marry after an eight-month legal battle. In August 2012, a federal judge then ordered the state of Oaxaca to perform same-sex marriages based on the aforementioned constitutional reform.

This ruling and two others were reviewed by the SCJN, which in December 2012 issued unanimous rulings overturning the ban on same-sex marriage in three individual cases in Oaxaca. However, a total of five individual cases must be decided this way in order for an official legal precedent to be set.

Having been rejected by the registrar in Guadalajara, Sandoval and de la O requested the denial in writing in order to take up the case with the SCJN, in the hope of setting a similar precedent in Jalisco.

While former Governor Emilio Gonzalez was firmly against same-sex marriage, his successor Aristoteles Sandoval recently vowed to recognize and expand the rights of same-sex couples in the state.

The push for equality in Jalisco comes after its neighbor state of Colima allowed its first ever same-sex marriage last month. An unnamed couple wed in a discreet private ceremony in the town of Cuauhtemoc in northeast Colima on February 27.

After taking into account the Mexican Constitution and the state law against discrimination, Mayor Indira Vizcaino Silva of the liberal Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) decided that all same-sex couples will now be allowed to marry in the municipality.

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