4) Mexico City Legalizes Gay Marriage

By: Ally DiCerbo
Pace International Law Review, Junior Associate

In the predominantly Roman Catholic city of Mexico City, lawmakers have made history by becoming the first city in Latin America to pass legislation legalizing gay marriage.  The bill passed by a vote of 39-20, with 5 abstentions.  The bill will require the city’s civil code to change the definition of marriage from the “union of a man and a woman” to “the free uniting of two people” and will take effect this March.  The legislative assembly also voted 31-24 in favor of legalizing adoption by same-sex couples with nine abstentions.  In 2007, the city legislators approved same-sex civil unions, which is also legal in Uruguay.  Mayor of Mexico City, Marcelo Ebrard, will have to sign the bill before it finally becomes law.  In the past, however, Ebrard has often supported progressive measures while encouraging liberal politics in Latin America.
Because 90% of the country’s population is Roman Catholic, the church has often muted homosexuality; in the more rural part of the country, homosexuality is still considered taboo.  Conservative lawmakers voted against the bill and, if passed, threatened to obtain injunctions against the bill.  Similarly, many church leaders are pressuring the mayor to veto the bill, claiming it is an attack on the sanctity of marriage.  However, David Razu, a legislator from the left-wing Social Democratic Party, or PSD, sees the bill as “putting an end to segregation and stigmatization of a sector of society [and] giving access to full marriage rights.”

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