Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mexican court upholds capital's gay marriage law - Oroville Mercury Register

Mexican court upholds capital's gay marriage law - Oroville Mercury Register: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

By MARK STEVENSON Associated Press Writer
Posted: 08/05/2010 12:16:47 PM PDT

MEXICO CITY—The Mexican Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a fledgling law allowing same-sex marriages in Mexico City is constitutional, rejecting an appeal by federal prosecutors who argued that it violated the charter's guarantees to protect the family.

The justices have not yet determined the scope of their 8-2 ruling, however, saying they still need to decide whether it will impact states outside of the capital.

The court must also still rule on the constitutionality of a provision of the Mexico City law that allows same-sex couples to adopt children. It is expected to address that issue next Monday.

Justices who voted on the majority side stressed that while Mexico's constitution enshrines protection for families, it does not define what a "family" is.

Hundreds of couples have been married so far under Mexico City's 6-month-old law, which was the first of its kind to be enacted in Latin America when it went into effect March 4.

"It does not appear to me to be unconstitutional," Justice Jose Gudino said during Thursday's session. "The concept of the family established in the constitution ... is an open concept."

Justice Guillermo Ortiz, who argued against the law, said that "marriage is reserved exclusively for couples who can procreate, because one of the big issues of marriage is the protection of children."

Federal prosecutors had cited an article in Mexico's constitution that suggests—but does not state—that
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families are constituted by men, women and children. The article states: "Men and women are equal before the law. This protects the organization and development of the family."

The justices who voted to uphold the law differed in their reasons why: Some stressed the constitution's protection of an individual's right to choose a marriage partner, and others the right of local legislatures to enact laws governing the issue.

Mexico City authorities said that, as of earlier this week, 320 couples had been married: 173 of them male and 147 female.

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