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Colima legalizes same-sex unions

July 11, 2013

The Colima state congress has approved a bill permitting the legal union between same-sex couples, with 23 of 25 votes in favor of the resolution.

The bill provides gay couples with the same rights as married heterosexual couples, while preserving the term “marriage” as a union exclusively between a man and a woman. It must be ratified within the next 30 days by six of the state’s 10 municipalities in order to become law.

The town of Cuauhtemoc, governed by the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), has already been performing discreet same-sex unions since February 27, despite Colima laws not yet permitting such acts.

Local PRD deputy Enrique Velazquez has introduced a similar bill that would reinforce the rights of same-sex couples who live together to the Jalisco Congress, although it may prove more difficult to pass such a progressive measure in this more Catholic and conservative state. The Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles Ortega, warned this week that the bill was an attempt to “deceive” people and “disguise” gay marriage, while Velazquez responded that “homosexuals are also sons of God, they are human beings and Jalisco citizens.”

Velazquez believes the state is more liberal than it seems, citing in May a PRD poll that showed almost half of the Jalisco population would approve of same-sex unions, provided that this is not referred to as marriage.

However, previous attempts to bring about same-sex unions have met little success in the state. In March, Guadalajara’s civil registry refused to wed a lesbian couple and in May it rejected another four same-sex couples, citing Article 258 of the Civil Code of Jalisco, which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman.

Same-sex unions were first legalized in Mexico City in 2010 and since then has gradually become more accepted in other parts of the country.

In April 2012, a judge in Oaxaca granted a lesbian couple permission to marry following an eight-month legal battle. Then in August, a federal judge ordered the state of Oaxaca to perform same-sex marriages, basing his ruling on constitutional reform from June 2011 which banned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

This ruling and two others were reviewed last December by Mexico’s Supreme Court, which issued unanimous rulings overturning the ban on same-sex marriage in three individual cases in Oaxaca. Although five individual cases must be decided this way in order for an official legal precedent to be set, it appears that the tide is slowly turning in favor of same-sex marriage across Mexico.

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