Mexico City Makes a Move to Legalize Gay Marriage and Adoption

In a bold move that may put Mexico City at odds with the rest of the country, the local legislature approved a far-reaching gay rights bill Monday, voting to allow people of the same sex to marry and to adopt children.

The leftist-dominated legislature of this massive city of about 20 million people turned aside opposition from the influential Roman Catholic Church and ended lively debate to approve the measure by a 39-20 vote. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is expected to sign the bill into law.

“Mexico City has put itself in the vanguard,” said legislator Victor Hugo Romo. “This is a historic day.”

Mexico City’s initiative goes further than any other in Latin America by rewriting the law to redefine marriage as a “free union between two people,” not only between a man and a woman. It gives homosexual couples the same rights as heterosexual pairs, including the right to adopt, inherit, obtain joint housing loans and share insurance policies. – AS IT SHOULD! I like their choice of words – a free union between two consenting people. When is the world going to recognize this?!

Several countries, most of them in Europe, and a handful of U.S. states have legalized same-sex marriage in recent years, and the issue is being hotly debated in parts of predominantly Roman Catholic Latin America. Uruguay was the first Latin American nation to recognize same-sex unions, as well as adoptions by gay couples, and some cities in Argentina have adopted similar laws.

It was unclear when Ebrard planned to sign the gay rights bill into law, and of course, there are plans to persuade him to Veto the bill.

Martinez and other opponents had sought a citywide referendum on the issue, similar to the one California held last year, instead of a vote in the legislature. He said surveys taken by his organization showed overwhelming opposition to same-sex marriage. (Another survey published last week by the Reforma newspaper showed opinion more evenly divided.)

He also predicted a backlash against gays. “There will be repercussions, the unleashing of homophobia. Ours is not a very tolerant society.”

Before Monday’s vote, Mexico City already had on the books a law that allowed a kind of legal union between unmarried people, under which they could avail themselves of a limited number of services and benefits. Only 680 couples have done so since the law took effect in 2007.

“For centuries, unfair laws prohibited marriage between whites and blacks, between Europeans and Indians,” legislator Romo, of the PRD, said. “Today, all the barriers have disappeared.”

Article by Tracy WIlkinson LA Times