Posts Tagged As: Mexico

Making Sense of the Mexico Decision, Ctd. — What is an Amparo?, Ctd.

Jim Burroway

December 7th, 2012

The whole amparo thing is still baffling to us gringos. To get caught up, see Timothy’s post on Mexico’s Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage here, and my followup on what an amparo is here. I’m now hearing that for an amparo to become binding, it will require five consecutive identical decisions in a row in each state in order for the ruling to become binding for that state. My earlier understanding was that it only took five consecutive identical amparo rulings before it became binding nationwide. Based on this new understanding, Oaxaca needs two more amparos in a row before same-sex marriage becomes a done deal. Unless the legislature changes the law first, which this report (Google translate) indicates that process is now on a pretty good track.

Mexico has thirty states, plus the Distrito Federal, where Mexico City is located. Right now, the D.F. is the only place where same-sex couples can go to get married except for the three couples named in the Oaxacan amparos. Those marriages however are recognized nationwide. We learned yesterday that couples were trying to obtain marriage licenses in Toluca in the state of Mexico, with the aim of filing amparos if their request is denied. I haven’t heard the outcome of that attempt yet. The bottom line appears to be this: Mexico is now in a state-by-state process of providing marriage equality, much like the U.S. But since the process is going ahead with the national Supreme Court’s blessing, its possible that there may be somewhat fewer bumps in the road along the way.

Making Sense of the Mexico Decision, Ctd. — What is an Amparo?

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2012

Not to contradict anything that Timothy wrote — he has explained the Mexican marriage decision far more clearly than I ever could — but I wanted to add an answer to a question that maybe some of you asked and others (like myself) didn’t know to ask: What is an Amparo?

It turns out it’s not just any kind of a court case, but a rather special one. Similar to a writ of habeus corpus, which protects an individuals physical liberty,  a recurso de amparo — amparo literall means “protection” in  Spanish — protects all other forms of liberty. (In fact, habeous corpus in Mexico is just one of five specific types of amparos, called an amparo libertad.) Amparos are a particular kind of constitutional human rights complaint challenging an action which conflicts with the Mexican Constitution and/or international human rights protocols. Amparos, as a legal device, were invented in Mexico in the early 1800s, and their use has spread, in various forms, through much of the Spanish-speaking world.

The couples in these three cases filed amparos charging that Oaxaca’s Civil Code was unconstitutional because it excludes gay couples from marriage and that the Congress of Oaxaca had failed to protect their families, a right guaranteed under the Mexican Constitution. Two of the amparos were denied at the lower court level, and one was approved. The cases were then appealed to the Supreme Court, resulting in that court’s granting of these three amparos.

As Timothy pointed out, these decisions apply only to those parties named in these amparos, in much the same way that a writ of habeus corpus applies only to the named parties in the U.S. Which, as I understand it, means that the decision so far applies only to Oaxaca. It takes five consecutive, identical amparos before the ruling becomes universally binding. Already, couples are going to the Civil Registry Office in Toluca requesting marriage licenses and are prepared to file amparos if their requests are denied. But, as Timothy also explained, many local officials may go ahead and begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on these decisions. But if two more officials deny a marriage license and those couples file an amparo, we may get the five decisions bringing marriage equality to yet another nation.

Making sense of the Mexico decision

Timothy Kincaid

December 6th, 2012

Unlike the United States’ judiciary procedures, in Mexico judicial decisions have more of a cumulative or consensus impact. While the exact details are still murky (to me) it seems that court decisions apply only to the case at hand. However, if five cases (amparos) of a similar nature have five identical conclusions (without any differing conclusions) then this becomes the law.

In the Oaxaca decision, there were three cases which reached identical conclusion. Which means that if two more cases are pursued and the same conclusion is reached (as is likely), then all state laws excluding same-sex marriages are invalidated.

And, also unlike the US court decisions, this process can be quite a swift one; the cases decided yesterday were filed in August 2011.

But it is also possible that the three cases may prove, in practice, to be sufficient. As the intention of the court is pretty clear (unanimous decisions can give that impression), local officials may wish to avoid the hassle of upholding a law that they know has no high-court support and thus will simply issue marriage licenses.

And states may wish to avoid the hassle and cost of fighting a losing battle and will change their state laws to match what is clearly the new national standard. In fact, as I write this Oaxaca’s legislature is in the process of changing their laws.

Also interesting is that this was not the result of gay-rights groups making a strategic decision based on timing and friendly lower courts and bringing their best and most experienced legal team. These suits were brought by a law student, Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, who bucked the advice of the established LGBT groups and found in the Mexico City ruling language that encouraged him to pursue the cases.

However, the greatest boost to the cases probably came from outside Mexico. (Salon)

Méndez got an unexpected boost on Feb. 24, 2012, while the cases were in process: a landmark ruling from the Inter-American Court that the American Convention on Human Rights “prohibits … any rule, act, or discriminatory practice based on sexual orientation.” It came in a case brought by a Chilean lesbian who was denied custody of her children because of her sexual orientation, Karen Atala Riffo y Niñas v. Chile.

Mexico gives weight to international court rulings.

All of this is to say that Mexico has not become the twelfth country to offer nation-wide marriage equality, but it certainly has taken a large step in that direction. As I see it (though with this issue you can always be surprised) the other major likely contenders for that position are Colombia, Uruguay, New Zealand, and the various UK countries.

UPDATE: Michael Levers, writing at the Washington Blade, has an article that helps explain the case. Meanwhile, additional couples are pursuing marriage in Toluca, in an effort that will set the ball rolling for additional amparos.

Mexico Supreme Court overturns state law restricting marriage

Timothy Kincaid

December 5th, 2012

Since 2010, same-sex couples can marry in Mexico City and have that marriage recognized throughout the country. But with a ruling from the Supreme Court today, such couples can now marry in the state of Oaxaca – and probably all across the nation.


La Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación (SCJN) eliminó del Código Civil de Oaxaca el artículo 143 que establecía que el matrimonio sólo es entre un hombre y una mujer.

A partir de hoy, se sustituye con la resolución de la Corte, que implica matrimonios “entre dos personas”, por lo que no importa si son de distintos sexos o del mismo.

Google translate:

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) eliminated Oaxaca Civil Code Article 143 which stated that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

Beginning today, is replaced with the Court ruling, involving marriages “between two people”, so it does not matter if they are of different sexes or the same.

Two years ago the Catholic Church went entirely nuts claiming that the court was bribed and threatened war. It will be interesting to see what absurdities they will claim about today’s unanimous decision.

Mexico City marriages get nationwide recognition

Timothy Kincaid

August 23rd, 2012

According to huffpo

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital, though its decision does not force those states to begin marrying gay couples in their territory.

In a 9-2 decision, the tribunal cited an article of the constitution requiring states to recognize legal contracts drawn up elsewhere.

I thought they already we required.

Because they are. duh

Sorry, folks.

Cancun equality on hold

Timothy Kincaid

January 12th, 2012

According to media reports, the Quintana Roo Secretary of State, Lois Gonzalez Flores, has ordered a legal review of the state’s marriage law. Until the state’s position is determined, same-sex marriages in Quintana Roo (home of Cancun) are put on hold.

Marriage equality comes to straightsville

Timothy Kincaid

December 29th, 2011

Is there a city on the planet that screams “drunk heterosexual American college student” louder than Cancun? But the (admittedly beautiful) Mexican party city is now seeking to expand its appeal. So, due to a quirk in the law, Cancun and its neighbors in Quintana Roo County will begin offering same-sex marriages. (Foxipoo)

Novelo said that this “is something very positive. Besides the social part there are many economic benefits because the gay community generates between 45 and 60 percent more income on top of conventional tourism.”

She said gay and lesbian marriages are possible in Quintana Roo, “thanks to a legal gap in the Civil Code,” which only makes mention of “people interested in getting married,” without specifying their gender.

However, this was more of an accidental tourist attraction. At first Cancun officials just assumed that the law did not allow for same sex marriage. (Latin American Herald)

“We were more than two months going through the procedures in different Quintana Roo Civil Registry Offices – in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Chetumal and elsewhere – and none would allow us to register,” she said.

According to Novelo, in none of those cities would authorities allow the couples to present their legal arguments.

But in Kantunilkin, Judge Maria Rosalia Balam Caamal and other members of the Civil Registry Office decided to give them the chance.

After an initial refusal, and after several days of analysis, “they finally told us that the marriage was possible and that they had no legal arguments to deny it,” she said.

Marriages conducted in states in which it is legal in Mexico are recognized throughout the whole country.

Mexican Lawyer Faces 14 Months Imprisonment For Defending Gay Educator

Jim Burroway

September 13th, 2011

In 2009, a gay man, Agustín Estrada Negrete, was fired as head of a school for children of disabilities in the state of Mexico, just west of Mexico City. Jaime López Vela, a human rights lawyer with Agenda LGBT,  agreed to help him. They set up a meeting with officials with the state of Mexico in Toluca. A group of supportive parents organized a protest in front if the state offices, when police came in and arrested López and charged him with “insult to police and obstruction on the road.” Other protesters, including, mothers and children, were beaten as they tried to prevent the arrests. López, who would later be the first to be married by the mayor of Mexico City when same-sex marriages became legal, was beaten several times during his detention and is still facing 14 months in prison for that incident. Estrada was also arrested and beaten, and he has since fled to the U.S. and is seeking asylum. And Paul Canning has the gory details.

Couple recognition in Latin America

Timothy Kincaid

August 10th, 2011

As it stands, much of Latin America either has some form of couple recognition or is in the process of doing so.

Marriage – Argentina 2010
Marriage – Mexico 2010 – marriage must occur in Mexico City but recognized throughout
Civil Unions – Uruguay 2007
Civil Unions – Ecuador 2008
Civil Unions – Brazil 2011
Proposed – Colombia 2011 – Court directed the legislature to draft law
Proposed – Chile 2011 – President proposed Life Partnership (Civil Unions) bill

Tensions Rise in Guadalajara

Jim Burroway

August 22nd, 2010

YouTube Preview Image

Gay rights supporters during Sunday morning's protest in Guadalajara

First off, let me begin by saying that I’m having trouble with the AP’s headline (“Mexican Catholics, gay rights protesters face off“) because more than three-quarters of all Mexicans identify as Roman Catholic, including undoubtedly a similar proportion of LGBT Mexicans. But tensions do appear to be rising in Guadalajara, home to Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, who accused the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the nation’s Supreme Court to find that Mexico City’s marriage equality law was constitutional. The Court then followed that with another ruling declaring that LGBT people cannot be discriminated against in adoption. As Timothy Kincaid noted, Iniguez’ head exploded, and claimed he had “proof” that the fix is in. But also in that LA Times story, we have this:

Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, archbishop of Guadalajara and one of the most senior prelates in the nation, in recent days made especially harsh comments widely seen here as offensive. His statement set off a firestorm in a country where, by law, the church is not supposed to get involved in politics.

Calling same-sex unions an “aberration,” he said, “Would you want to be adopted by a pair of faggots or lesbians?”

So that set the stage for Sunday morning’s march by LGBT advocates at the plaza next to Guadalajara’s Cathedral. According to the AP, they were met by a similar number of protesters opposed to the court’s decision. The AP reports that “One of them ripped up a sign held by a gay rights activist, prompting screaming by both sides.”

Writing for the blog for the magazine U.S. Catholic, Bryan Cones laments the Cardinal’s rhetoric, and called him out in particular for hurling anti-gay epithets. And for good reason:

Indeed, the Catholic side of this debate must tread carefully, for several reasons. First, there are many gay and lesbian people in the church, called by God into it through their baptism. Catholic conversation about homosexuality must always keep in mind that we are talking about members of the body of Christ here.

Second, there are more and more Catholic families with openly gay and lesbian children, many of whom are grown and have partners and families of their own. The blood of family being thicker than the waters of baptism, the participants in the Catholic debate about gay marriage must recognize that many Catholic parents long ago accepted the sexuality of their gay children, have come to love their partners, and treasure the grandchildren they have through them.

Cones cited the poll we discussed last month which found that Latino Catholics in California were more likely to vote for marriage equality than any other religious/ethnic combination surveyed, and said, “That’s the family dynamic at work.”

Update: According to this Spanish language report, another confrontation occurred Saturday afternoon between about 400 conservative Catholics and approximately 150 LGBT advocates. The war of words was rough, according to my rough translation:

En ese momento se desató una guerra de consignas: “¡guerra-guerra contra lucifer!” y “¡adopten un perro maricones!”, gritaban los católicos encarando a los grupos gay, quienes respondieron: “¡nos vamos a casar y vamos a adoptar, nos vamos a casar y vamos a adoptar!”

“¡Ustedes dense, pero dejen a los niños en paz!”, profirió un joven católico haciendo la seña del acto sexual; además, ponían el pulgar hacia abajo en señal de desaprobación, y en respuesta los integrantes de la diversidad sexual gritaban “¡pederastas!”

[That’s when a war of words broke out: “War! War against Lucifer” and “Adopt dogs, faggots!” shouted the Catholics confronting the gay groups, who responded, “We’re getting married and we’re going to adopt, we’re getting married and we’re going to adopt!”

“Go ahead, but leave the kids alone,” shouted a young Catholic while making a gesture of a sexual act, and then putting his thumbs down in disapproval. And in response, members of the sexual diversity groups were shouting, “Pedophiles!”

Second Update: My translation of “¡Ustedes dense” as “Go ahead” may be a bit off, according to commenters. I can usually handle straight-on Spanish, but idiomatic expressions often elude me. This one apparently has a crude sexual connotation as well, sort of on the lines of “Go f*ck yourselves.” Classy people, aren’t they?]

Meanwhile, the College of Catholic Lawyers of Mexico announced that will file a request for impeachment before  Mexico’s lower House of Congress against the Supreme Court judges who ruled in favor of marriage equality.

Mexico’s Catholic Church threatens war

Timothy Kincaid

August 20th, 2010

You can’t always trust what you read on the often-nutty Catholic news source LifeSiteNews, but considering the wackadoodle craziness we’ve been hearing from the Catholic hierarchy in Mexico lately, it’s hard to put anything beyond them.

As we told you, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara accused the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the nation’s Supreme Court to find that Mexico City’s marriage equality law did not violate the constitution. And he says he has proof.

Mayor Marcelo Ebrard filed a defamation suit against Iniguez. And it is in that context that LifeSiteNews tells us:

The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Hugo Valdemar, is coming out swinging against the socialist political establishment, which is threatening him, the city’s cardinal archbishop and the cardinal archbishop of Guadalajara, with punitive measures following comments condemning the city’s new pro-abortion and gay “marriage” legislation.

Denouncing the “new religious persecution” begun by Mexico City Chief of Government Marcelo Ebrard, which is motivated by “intolerance, hatred, and viscerality,” Valdemar warned that the actions of the mayor could “unleash a war in the country.”

If, indeed, the Church is declaring Holy War on the government, then this is actually becoming serious.

Mexican Catholic Church goes wackadoodle

Timothy Kincaid

August 18th, 2010

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico is going wackadoodle in a way seldom seen outside the circus (or some of the US’ more colorful anti-gay activists).

Last Sunday, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara accused the mayor of Mexico City of bribing the nation’s Supreme Court to find that Mexico City’s marriage equality law did not violate the constitution. Although the Supreme Court unanimously censured his statements, rather than distance themselves from such extremism the rest of the Church hierarchy jumped onboard for a ride on the Wackadoodle Train.

And now Cardinal Iniguez is claiming “proof”. (LA Times)

Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of Mexico City on Wednesday filed a civil suit claiming defamation against Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez of Guadalajara, upping the ante in a high-profile political spat over gay marriage in Mexico that pits emboldened secular institutions against the country’s influential Roman Catholic clergy.

Church authorities were not backing down. Sandoval said Monday he would not retract his comments, and the archdiocese in Guadalajara later said it had proof of the allegations against the Supreme Court justices. Statements in support were issued from the archdiocese in Mexico City, while the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico also said it supports Sandoval.

Now, this is Mexico; anything is possible. But considering that the Bishops also declared same sex marriage to be worse than narcotrafficking, I’m not much inclined to think that they will be able to prove their case.

Mexican Catholic Archdiocese completely jumps the shark

Timothy Kincaid

August 17th, 2010

You think Mexico’s drug cartels are a problem? Well you ain’t seen anything so bad as what’s really destroying the country: Teh Gehs!! (On-Top)

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico has called gay marriage worse than drug trafficking, Mexico daily El Universal reported.

Kidnapping, executions, intimidation, and the all-out war on the Mexican government? Pshaw! That’s nothing compared to Anita and Isabel tying the knot.

Something must be done! The Church must get involved and tell the people how to vote!

The church called for the ouster of the government of Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

“He and his government have created laws destructive to the family, the laws do worse damage than drug trafficking,” Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Archdiocese, said. “Marcelo Ebrard and his party, the PRD, are determined to destroy us.”

Last Sunday, the cardinal of Guadalajara, Juan Sandoval Iniguez, accused Ebrard of bribing the court to rule in the city’s favor.

Speaking in Aguascalientes, Iniguez said the court would not reach such an “absurd” conclusion unless it was motivated by a large sum of money.

“I do not know of any of you who would like to be adopted by a pair of lesbians or a pair of fags,” he said. “I think not.”

Bring back good ol’ fashioned morality. Bring back the old ways when life was simpler and everyone knew their place, and stayed in it. It’s the Real Catholic way.

Mexican Supreme Court Backs Adoption Rights

Jim Burroway

August 16th, 2010

A little bird tweeted that the Mexican Supreme Court has approved adoption rights for same-sex couples moments ago. This marks the court’s third major decision affecting LGBT couples in Mexico. Two weeks ago, the Mexican Supreme Court upheld Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law as constitutional. Last week, the court ruled that those marriages registered in Mexico City are valid nationwide.

Those ruling’s coupled with today’s development means that Mexico has joined several other nations in zooming ahead of the United States in enshrining equal rights under the law.

Marriage equality comes to all of Mexico

Timothy Kincaid

August 10th, 2010

According to the AP, all of Mexico is now subject to the New York State approach to marriage equality:

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that all 31 states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in the capital, though its decision does not force those states to begin marrying gay couples in their territory.

In a 9-2 decision, the tribunal cited an article of the constitution requiring states to recognize legal contracts drawn up elsewhere.

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