The Mexican Supreme Court has just legalized same-sex marriage, but the country doesn’t have equal marriage rights just yet.
As the United States eagerly waits for the Supreme Court to give a final ruling on whether or not marriage equality will be recognized nationwide, the Mexican Supreme court effectively made same-sex marriage legal in their country. The ruling is technically considered a "jurisprudential thesis" and does not invalidate any state laws that are currently on the books. So what does that mean, and how can same-sex couples get married if the state they reside in has laws prohibiting marriage between two people of the same sex?
According to BuzzFeed, same-sex couples might still run into a few snags because local registrars are not required to follow this ruling; however gay couples denied marriage rights in their states are able to seek injunctions from district judges since the jurisprudential thesis now requires the judges to grant them. In a roundabout way, the Mexican Supreme Court effectively made same-sex marriage legal across the country.
“As the purpose of matrimony is not procreation, there is no justified reason that the matrimonial union be heterosexual, nor that it be stated as between only a man and only a woman,” the ruling said. “Such a statement turns out to be discriminatory in its mere expression.”
Estefanía Vela Barba, an associate law professor at CIDE, a university in Mexico City, clarified the ruling in a quote to the New York Times. “Without a doubt, gay marriage is legal everywhere,” she said. “If a same-sex couple comes along and the code says marriage is between a man and a woman and for the purposes of reproduction, the court says, ‘Ignore it, marriage is for two people.’”
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just ignoring the discriminatory code or the local registrar. Even though judges are now required to provide marriage licenses, if a registrar denies a same-sex couple, it is up to that couple to appeal the courts. According to the Times, that process can cost $1,000 or more and the legal process can take months. While this means marriage is not 100 percent equal, the recent ruling in Mexico is definitely a step in the right direction.
The global trend is leaning towards more and more countries recognizing LGBT relationships. Last month, Ireland became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by national referendum. Just last week, the German Bundesrat passed a resolution in support of changing the German Civil Code to include marriage equality, and Italy’s Lower House of Parliament passed a motion on gay civil unions. Now, the United States eagerly awaits the Supreme Court’s decision on whether or not marriage equality should be recognized across the country. The ruling is expected to be announced later this month.