Morelos Lawmakers Approve Constitutional Changes To Enact Marriage Equality

Jim Burroway

June 29th, 2016

Map, Mexico

via @MorelosCongreso on Twitter

via @MorelosCongreso on Twitter

Such is the nature of Mexico’s famously opaque political machinations that it’s really hard to tell what’s really happening. The Congress of the state of Mexico was due to meet yesterday evening to formally validate a package of state constitutional changes to provide full marriage equality. But when religious anti-gay protesters took over and occupied the Congress’s Plenary Hall, lawmakers convened in an alternate location and ratified the constitutional reforms.

Changes to the state’s constitution requires either tacit or active agreement from the majority of the states thirty-two Ayuntamientos (local governments or municipalities). Municipalities can either vote for, against, or abstain from voting. If an ayuntameiento abstains from voting, then that vote is taken as a yes vote. Taken this way, seventeen votes would be needed to defeat a constitutional change. According the tally adopted by the state congress, there were 12 votes in favor, 15 against, and 5 effectively approved by not voting officially.

According to the official tally released by the Congress of Morelos, ayuntamientos officially registering their approval were: Cuautla, Emiliano Zapata, Huitzilac, Jantetelco, Jiutepec, Puente de Ixtla, Tetecala, Tlaquiltenango, Totolapan, Yautepec, and Yecapixtla. (Note: I only count 11 ayuntamientos listed in that tally.)

The ayuntamientos officially registering their disapproval of the measures were Amacuzac, Atlatlahucan, Ayala, Coatlán del Río, Jojutla, Jonacatepec, Miacatlán, Temoac, Tepoztlan, Tetela del Volcan, Tlalnepantla, Tlaltizapán, Xochitepec, Zacatepec, and Zacualpan de Amilpas.

The ayuntamientos that did not submit their decisions “in a timely manner,” according to the Congressional bulletin, were Axochiapan, Cuernavaca (the state’s capital), Mazatepec, Tepalcingo, and Tlayacapan.

According to several conflicting reports, marriage equality opponents charged that Mazatepec and Tepalcingo (and some add Ocuituco, which doesn’t appear on any of the above lists even though it is one of the 32 ayuntamientos) had also voted against the constitutional reforms. If true, that would have raised the “no” vote to seventeen (or eighteen) and killed the reforms. They also accuse the state Congress’s Secretary of Legislative Affairs of “manipulating” the outcomes of the Ayuntamiento meetings to precent a “no” vote.

Members of the conservative National Action Party say they will challenge the constitutional changes in court. Legal changes open a thirty-day window in which the changes can be challenged before the Supreme Court Justice of the Nation (SCJN), Mexico’s highest court. Members of Family Network, an evangelical anti-gay group, say they will launch an appeal.

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