Mexico’s gay rights movement gaining ground

shutterstock_89005363Aljazeera, 1/28/14

Intolerance of sexual diversity remains common across much of Mexico and Latin America, a strongly Catholic region where macho attitudes prevail. Yet the region has seen rapid change in recent years. Democratization, an increased respect for human rights, the onset of globalization and the growth of social media have all facilitated the expansion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights across the region. Argentina legalized same-sex marriage in 2010, and Brazil and Uruguay followed suit in 2013. The three countries are the only ones in Latin America to be named among the top 30 most gay-friendly nations in the world, as determined by LGBT travel website Spartacus World.

Mexico, meanwhile, is in the middle of a radical transformation. In 2009, Mexico City became the first Latin American jurisdiction to legalize marriage and adoption by same-sex couples, but the rest of the country is still playing catch-up with the liberal capital. A 2010 Supreme Court ruling means marriages registered in Mexico City are recognized everywhere, but same-sex ceremonies remain outlawed in most of the country and only a limited number have been allowed in five of Mexico’s 31 states.

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Colima, Mexico Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions

gay pride flagThe Huffington Post – 7/31/2013

Lawmakers in Mexico’s western state of Colima have approved a change in the state’s constitution that legalizes same-sex civil unions. Colima state spokeswoman Cecilia Ramirez says the legislature approved the constitutional change late Monday after seven of the state’s 10 municipalities approved the reform.

Ramirez says the law provides gay couples with numerous social benefits similar to those of married couples. She says a survey found Colima residents opposed instituting same-sex marriage but did support giving gay couples some legal rights.


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Mexico’s 1st gay mayor elected in rough northern state known for machismo, drug violence

gay pride flagThe Washington Post, 7/18/2013

Mexico’s first openly gay elected mayor is set to take office in a rough part of Zacatecas state known for cowboy boots, embossed belts and drug gang shootouts. Benjamin Medrano, a 47-year-old singer and gay bar-owner, says he is proud to be openly gay and rights groups say his victory in the city of Fresnillo’s July 7 election marks a significant point in the fight for gay rights.

They add that it is too early yet to declare victory and Medrano, who takes office in September, acknowledges that he was the target of a malicious phone-calling campaign in which his political rivals “tried to smear me, as if being gay were a crime.” Zacatecas is a largely rural state with a reputation for cowboy hats and macho swagger, one of last places in Mexico that seemed likely to elect a gay mayor.

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Social Security Institutions Must Register Gay Partners: National Council to Prevent Discrimination (in Spanish)

CNN México, 7/12/11

El Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) y el Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE) cometieron actos de discriminación al negarse a registrar a los cónyuges de derechohabientes casados con personas del mismo sexo, resolvió este lunes el Consejo Nacional para Prevenir la Discriminación (Conapred).

La Resolución por Disposición al IMSS e ISSSTE por Discrmininación a Matrimonios entre Personas del Mismo Sexo, que le fue enviada la semana pasada a las dos dependencias, establece que “ambas instituciones deben garantizar el ejercicio pleno y en igualdad de trato y de oportunidades a quienes son derechohabientes, y a sus cónyuges o concubinas, sin ningún tipo de discriminación motivada por sus preferencias sexuales“.

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Mitofsky on Same-Sex Marriage

Gancho Blog, 1/11/10

Some relevant findings: 46 percent of Mexicans said that homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, compared to 47 who did not feel that way. Thirty-three percent of respondents felt that gay couples should be allowed to marry, compared to 58 percent who said that they shouldn’t.

Interestingly, there is greater hostility toward lesbian couples than homosexual male couples, at least in terms of child-rearing: 33 percent said that an all-female couple should be able to adopt a child, compared to 58 percent who went the other way, while the corresponding figures for men were 23 and 68 percent. (Then again, maybe that’s not so interesting, and is typical of such polling; I’ve never seen the two findings compared before.)

Digging a little deeper, the salient variable here is age: the young were more open to rights for same-sex couples across the word.

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Editorial: A big step forward for Mexico City

Los Angeles Times, 12/24/09

The bloody drug war has reinforced Mexico’s image as a macho country with a taste for violence. It was, therefore, particularly heartening this week to hear that Mexico City once again has bucked the stereotype and placed itself at the forefront of social change in Latin America, passing a law permitting people of the same sex to marry and adopt children.

This is a triumph of tolerance over prejudice, of equal rights over discrimination. It is a step toward fighting institutional and sometimes physical violence against homosexuals, because it says that gays and lesbians are just like everyone else.

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We do: Mexico City blazes trail with legalisation of same-sex marriage

The Guardian, 12/22/09

Gay rights activists across the world consider same-sex marriage one of their toughest goals. Only seven countries permit it: Belgium, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Sweden. A handful of US states also allow it.

But on Monday night, and despite opposition from conservatives and the Roman Catholic church, Mexico City was in the vanguard of a Latin America-wide tilt towards greater tolerance for homosexuality. The Mexican capital became the first in Latin America to allow same-sex marriage with a groundbreaking law which could set a precedent for gay rights across the region.

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