With Veracruz Congress’ vote, Mexico inches closer to nationwide marriage equality

Published: Monday, June 6, 2022 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, June 6, 2022 - 6:26am

Last week, one more state Congress in neighboring Mexico approved a marriage equality measure.

On Thursday, the Veracruz state Congress voted overwhelmingly in favor of the reform, making the coastal state Mexico’s 27th where same-sex couples can marry as easily as their straight compatriots. The vote came shortly after Mexico’s Supreme Court invalidated portions of Veracruz’s civil code.

Alex Mendez, head of litigation at Mexico Igualitario, which has been heavily involved in prominent marriage equality cases for years, explained that the high court’s ruling on its own opened the door to marriage for same-sex couples.

However, he said that the congress’ vote was "symbolically" significant because it was an acknowledgment of the body’s obligation to act on questions of equality and nondiscrimination.

Only five states have yet to approve such reforms, and Mendez is hopeful that within the next several years, marriage equality could become a reality nationwide. He says that in three of them, his organization is preparing a legal strategy toward that end.

Getting to this point would have been unimaginable without what Mendez described as the decentralization of activism demanding reform, with vibrant movements springing up the length and breadth of the country over the last decade.

In 2015, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that any state law that defines marriage as solely between a man and woman is unconstitutional. Despite that seemingly unambiguous and decisive ruling, many state Legislatures resisted calls to abide by it for years. Sonora approved its reform measure just last fall.

“What is failing in the Mexican legal system that makes it possible that — seven years after the ruling, 10 years after the first decisions of the (Supreme Court) — we still have states that refuse to obey the constitution?” Mendez asked.

“The court has been a great ally,” Mendez added. “But we also have to recognize that it has not allowed rules to be developed or interpreted in other ways to compel states to obey the constitution.”

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