Recognition of same-sex unions in Mexico

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State recognition of same-sex relationships in Mexico
  Same-sex marriage
(Rings: Individual cases)
  Same-sex civil unions
  Same-sex marriages recognized but not performed
Legal recognition of
same-sex relationships
Previously performed but not invalidated
  1. Can be registered also in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
  2. When performed in Mexican states that have legalized same-sex marriage

*Not yet in effect

LGBT portal

In Mexico, only civil marriages are recognized by the law, and all its proceedings fall under state legislation.[1] Same-sex marriage is legally performed in Mexico City and in the state of Quintana Roo but explicitly banned in the state of Yucatán[2] (although the prohibition is limited to its performance within state boundaries, not its recognition, and it is still being challenged in the Mexican courts).[3] In addition, same-sex couples have been able to marry in individual cases in Chihuahua, Colima, State of Mexico, Yucatán, Oaxaca, Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Baja California and Nayarit. Same-sex civil unions are legally performed in Mexico City and in the states of Coahuila, Colima,[2] Jalisco,[4] and Campeche.[5] Since August 2010, same-sex marriages performed within Mexico are recognized by the 31 states without exception, and fundamental spousal rights (such as alimony payments, inheritance rights, and the coverage of spouses by the federal social security system) also apply to same-sex couples across the country.[6]

In late November 2009, the leading party at the Legislative Assembly of the Federal District (ALDF), the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), announced that it was fine-tuning an amendment to the civil code to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico City, a project endorsed by the local head of government, Marcelo Ebrard, but strongly opposed by the second largest political force in the country, the right-of-center National Action Party (PAN) and the Roman Catholic Church. The bill found support from over 600 non-governmental organizations, including the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and Amnesty International (AI). On December 21, 2009, Mexico City became the first Latin American jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage. The law became effective on March 4, 2010.[7]

On August 5, 2010, the Supreme Court voted 8-2 to uphold the constitutionality of Mexico City's same-sex marriage law.[8] The Court later ruled on August 10, 2010, that Mexico City marriages are valid throughout the entire country.[9]

On November 28, 2011, the first two same-sex marriages occurred in Quintana Roo after discovering that Quintana Roo's Civil Code did not explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage,[10] but these marriages were later annulled by the governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012.[11] In May 2012, the secretary of state of Quintana Roo reversed the annulments and allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state.[12]

The 2012 Oaxaca case was pivotal in opening the door to legal same-sex marriage in every state in Mexico, through the injunction (amparo) process. Using international decisions, whose verdicts serve as legal precedent in Mexican courts, like the protections in the American Convention on Human Rights Karen Atala Riffo y Niñas v. Chile case,[13], the U.S. cases Loving v. Virginia and Brown v. Board of Education[14] and Mexico's own anti-discrimination ordinances, they ruled[15] 5 December, 2012 that: 1) Laws limiting marriage to one man and one woman, or for the purposes of perpetuating the species, violated federal law requiring that they “correspond to all persons without any distinction”and 2) That such laws were unconstitutional on the basis of discrimination by sexual orientation and usurpation of the right, not only of the individual but also the couple’s right, to form a family. [16] Barring legislative will to change State laws, a provision in the Mexican Code allows that five rulings in a state with the same outcome on the same issue override a statute.[17] Thus, marriages obtained by injunction could be performed in any state, regardless of whether the state Civil Code had been changed.[18]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

State recognition of same-sex relationships in North America & Hawaii.
  Same-sex marriage
  Other type of partnership
  Same-sex marriages recognized, but not performed
  Binding judicial ruling against a ban on same-sex marriage1
  Binding judicial ruling against a ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages stayed pending appeal
  No recognition, same-sex marriage banned2
1Some states also have a binding judicial ruling against a ban on unions similar to marriage.
2Some states also ban unions similar to marriage.

Mexico City[edit]

On November 24, 2009, PRD assemblyman David Razú proposed a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico City.[19] Luis González Plascencia, chairman of the Humans Rights Commission of Mexico City, backed the bill and said that it was up to the Legislative Assembly to consider LGBT adoption.[20] The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), International Amnesty (AI), the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and over 600 non-governmental organizations supported the legalization of same-sex marriage in Mexico City.[21] The PAN has announced it will either go to the courts to appeal the law or demand a referendum.[22][23] However, a referendum on same-sex marriage was rejected by the Legislative Assembly in a 36-22 vote on 18 December 2009.[24] On 21 December 2009, the Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriage (39-20) in Mexico City. The bill changes the definition of marriage in the city's Civil Code from "a free union between a man and a woman" to "a free union between two people."[25] The law would grant same-sex couples the same rights as opposite-sex couples, including adopting children.[26] The PAN vowed to challenge the law in the courts.[26] On 29 December 2009, Head of Government Marcelo Ebrard signed the bill into law, which became effective on 4 March 2010.[7][27] On 5 August, the Supreme Court voted 8–2 to uphold the constitutionality of Mexico City's same-sex marriage law.[8] The Court ruled on 10 August 2010, that Mexico City marriages are valid throughout the country.[28]

Political party Members Yes No Abstain Absent
Party of the Democratic Revolution 34 34
National Action Party 15 15
Institutional Revolutionary Party 8 2 5 1
Labor Party 5 5
Ecologist Green Party of Mexico 3 3
New Alliance Party 1 1
Total 66 39 20 5 2


On the other hand, in the southeastern state of Yucatán, the local Congress overwhelmingly approved a ban on same-sex marriage in a 24–1 vote on 21 July 2009. The law raised heterosexual marriage and families to the constitutional level via the approval of amendments to the state's Civil Code. The bill was promoted by right-wing organization Pro Yucatán Network to reject all efforts by people of the same sex to form a family and adopt children. PAN politicians justified the ban alleging that "there still aren't adequate conditions within Yucatán society to allow for unions between people of the same sex."[29] The event led to protests outside the local Congress by LGBT organizations, whose leaders were expected to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.[30]

Political party Members Yes No Abstain Absent
PRI Party (Mexico).svg Institutional Revolutionary Party 14 14
PAN Party (Mexico).svg National Action Party 9 9
PRD Party (Mexico).svg Party of the Democratic Revolution 1 1
PT Party (Mexico).svg Labor Party / CON Party (Mexico).svg Convergence 1 1
Total 25 24 1

On March 26, 2013, a male same-sex couple asked the Civil Registar of Yucatán to marry. The Civil Registar rejected the bid saying that the State Constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The couple appealed the decision of the Civil Registar and on July 1 the Third District Court of the Yucatán State recognized that they have the right to marry. Since the Civil registrar did not appeal the District Court decision the order (amparo) will take effect.[31] [32]

Quintana Roo[edit]

Same-sex marriages can be performed in Quintana Roo after a decision by the state's Secretary of State.[12] In November 2011, some public officials in the state began performing same-sex marriages after reviewing the state's civil code. The Civil Code of Quintana Roo does not state sex or gender requirements for marriage, only specifying "people interested in getting married".[10] A same-sex couple filed for a marriage license in Cancún and Chetumal after discovering this legal quirk, but both cities rejected their applications, arguing that a man-woman marriage was implied. The couple then applied in Lázaro Cárdenas Municipality, where authorities accepted the application. Quintana Roo's first two same-sex marriages were held in the community of Kantunilkin on 28 November 2011.[33]

Cancún, Cozumel, and other resort areas in Quintana Roo planned to hold a same-sex group wedding in January 2012, but these weddings were suspended upon review by Luis González Flores,[11] the Secretary of State of Quintana Roo.[34][35] In April 2012, the two same-sex marriages performed in Kantunilkin were annulled by Quintana Roo Governor Roberto Borge Angulo,[11] but these annulments were later reversed by González Flores in a decision that allowed for future same-sex marriages to be performed in the state.[12]


On 10 April 2012, a lesbian couple was granted permission by a judge to marry in the state of Oaxaca after an eight months judicial battle, thus becoming the first same-sex marriage in the state.[36] As of 26 August 2012, a Mexican federal court judge has ordered the state of Oaxaca to perform same-sex marriages based on a recent constitutional amendment which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. This ruling was reviewed by the Mexican Supreme Court and the Court issued a unanimous ruling overturning the ban on same-sex marriage.[37][38]


In February 2013 Colima State authorities started approving same-sex marriage applications after officials cited Article 1 in the state constitution, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual preferences. Although Same-sex marriage is not officially legal by law in Colima, a same-sex couple can legally apply and receive a marriage license.[39] On June 14, 2013, Rosa Lilia Vargas Valle, a judge of the Second District Court of the Colima State, ruled that the Colima Civil Code is unconstitutional in limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.[40][41] On July 4, 2013 the state congress approved an amendment to Article 147 of the constitution which formalizes same-sex unions. Within 30 days, seven of Colima's ten municipalities approved the change to the civil code.[2][42]


On April 30, 2013, a male same-sex couple asked the Civil Registrar of Chihuahua to marry. The Civil Registar rejected because the State Constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. On May 7, 2013, the couple appealed the decision of the Civil Registar and on August 19, judge, José Juan Múzquiz Gómez, of the Tenth District Court of the Chihuahua State recognized that they have the right to marry. The Civil Registar had up to September 3 to appeal the decision.[43] The government of the state did not appeal the decision and allowed the deadline to pass, thereby allowing the couple to marry.[44]

State of México[edit]

On 24 June, 2013, a federal judge granted an injunction to four same-sex couples against the Civil Registry of Toluca, ruling that the Civil Code prohibiting their marriages was discriminatory. [45]

Nuevo León[edit]

In September, 2013, a federal judge ordered the Civil Registry of Nuevo León to register the marriage of a female same-sex couple. [46] Governor Rodrigo Medina said his administration would abide by the order, but only for that specific case. [47] On 13 November, 2013 a male same-sex couple went to the Civil Registry Administrative Office 4 in San Pedro, Nuevo León, made an application for marriage [48] and were told to expect a response within one week. In December, 2013, they filed a complaint at the headquarters of the Ombudsman in the State Commission on Human Rights against the Registry for failure to provide them with an official response. [49]


A female same-sex couple was able to become the first same-sex couple to marry in Jalisco.TolucaGarcia, Michelle (2013-12-15). "Lesbian Couple First to Marry in Mexican State". Retrieved 2014-01-07. </ref>


In March 2014, a lesbian couple who sued the state of Guanajuato in federal court after they were denied a marriage license, were allowed to marry.[50]


On 13 November 2006, it was announced that civil unions bill for Michoacán, would be formally proposed. However, as of August 2009, it stalled, meaning was not discussed by the local congress.[51] After marriage was passed in the Federal District, the PRD announced it would propose bills for equal marriage and same-sex adoption, along with same-sex civil unions (Law for Coexistence Partnerships) in 2010.[52] A bill was submitted in March, 2010 by the Grupo de Facto Diversidad Sexual, which proposed both marriage and cohabitation, but did not mention same-sex adoption.[53] As with the previous proposal, it stalled.[54]

After 4 years of legal processes,[55] on 5 March 2014, a federal court ruled that a lesbian couple could marry. It was the first case in Mexico which was not elevated to the Supreme Court.[56] On 6 May 2014, it was announced that a second lesbian couple had obtained an injunction and seven more cases were pending. [57]

San Luis Potosí[edit]

In June 2014, a gay couple received news that they had been granted an injunction and will become the first couple to marry in that state.[58] In August, 2014, the First Official of the Civil Registry filed a counter-injunction to avoid recording the marriage.[59]

Baja California[edit]

In June 2014, a male same-sex couple was told they would be allowed to marry through an injunction after Mexico's Supreme Court deemed the state's marriage ban unconstitutional.[60]


In July 2014, a gay couple was allowed to hold the state's first gay wedding after a year of legal work.[61] On 8 July, a federal judge ruled the ban unconstitutional.[62] The couple married in the state's capital of Tepic.


In July 2014, Mexico's Supreme Court denied a lesbian couple an injunction, but declared the current state marriage laws unconstitutional and told the local government that they must modify their Civil Code to allow same-sex marriages. It was later announced that the couple could marry after a district judge granted them an injunction, but the law must still be revised. PAN has said it will abide by the ruling.[63]


On July 30, 2013 The Civil Partnership Equity and Community Participation asked a federal court to rule in favor of marriage equality in Morelos.[64]

In July 2014, a gay couple was granted an injunction and in September they will become the first to marry in the state.[65]


In July 2014, a lesbian couple was granted an injunction and announced they will wed by August.[66]


In July 2014, a gay couple was granted an injunction as the federal judge deemed the current law discriminatory. The local government has discussed debating reforms on the Civil Code.[67]


In August 2014, an injunction in favor of a lesbian couple was granted making them the first in the state to be allowed to marry.[68]


In January 2013 the Family Code of the state of Sinaloa was changed to limit marriage or cohabitation to couples consisting of a man and a woman. Three injunctions were filed to contest the changes, but two were dismissed.[69] On 12 July, 2013, Seventh District Judge Teddy Abraham Torres López, of Los Mochis, granted injunction 262/2013/1 arguing that the Legislature of the state must comply with its obligations of equality and non-discrimination. [70] The case has been elevated to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. [71]


In May, 2014, a male same-sex couple requested an injunction against the Registry in Aguascalientes for refusing to allow them to marry and against the constitutionality of sections 143 and 144 of the Civil Code. [72] A decision by the Supreme Court of Justice is expected in August, 2014. [73]

Other states[edit]

After Mexico City's Legislative Assembly legalized same-sex marriages and LGBT adoption in December 2009, debate resurged in states where civil unions had been previously proposed. In the southeastern state of Tabasco, 20 same-sex couples sent a motion to the state legislature asking to allow them to marry.[74] The state's largest political parties, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), have announced their support for same-sex marriage in the 2010 agenda.[75] In the northwestern state of Sonora, an initiative to allow same-sex couples to marry has been delivered to the state's Congress by former Labor Party candidate for governor, Miguel Angel Haro Moren, who expects the bill to be well received by the lawmakers "because the Sonoran society is not conservative, but rather, the political class", Haro said.[76] In Morelos, bills concerning same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex couples are expected to be proposed by the Labor Party (PT) in mid-2010.[77]

Civil unions[edit]

Mexico City[edit]

Being the seat of the Powers of the Union, Mexico City did not belong to any particular state but to all. After years of demanding greater political autonomy, residents were given the right to directly elect the Head of Government of the Federal District and the representatives of the unicameral Legislative Assembly (ALDF) by popular vote in 1997. Ever since, the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has controlled both political powers.

In the early 2000s, Enoé Uranga, an openly lesbian politician and activist, unsuccessfully pushed a bill that would have legalized same-sex civil unions in Mexico City under the name Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia (LSC; "Law for Coexistence Partnerships").[78] Despite being passed four times by legislative commissions, the bill repeatedly got stuck in plenary voting for its sensitive nature, which could be attributed to the widespread opposition from right-wing groups and then-Head of Government Andrés Manuel López Obrador's ambiguity concerning the bill.[79] Nonetheless, since new left-wing mayor Marcelo Ebrard was expected to take power in December 2006, the ALDF decided to take up the bill and approved it in a 43–17 vote on 9 November.[79]

Political party Members Yes No Abstain Absent
Party of the Democratic Revolution 34 33 1
National Action Party 17 16 1
Institutional Revolutionary Party 4 4
New Alliance Party 4 2 1 1
Ecologist Green Party of Mexico 3 3
Social Democratic Party 2 2
Labor Party 1 1
Convergence 1 1
Total 66 43 17 5 1

The law was well received by feminist and LGBT groups, including Emilio Álvarez Icaza, then-chairman of the Federal District's Human Rights Commission, who declared that "the law was not a threat to anyone in particular and that it will be a matter of time before it shows positive consequences for different social groups." It was strongly opposed by right-wing groups such as the National Parents' Union and the Roman Catholic Church, which labeled the assemblymen who voted for the law as "sinners" and complained it was "vengeance against the Catholic Church from the more radical groups from the left, who felt it was a demand for justice."[79] The law officially took effect on March 16, 2007.[80] Mexico City's first same-sex civil union was between Jorge Cerpa, a 31-year-old economist, and Antonio Medina, a 38-year-old journalist.[80] As of December 2009, 736 same-sex civil unions have taken place in the city since the law became effective, of which 24 have been annulled (3%).[81]

Year Unions Annulled
2007 257 10
2008 268 14
2009 211
Total 736 24

Coahuila de Zaragoza[edit]

The legalization of same-sex civil unions in Coahuila had started to be discussed as early as November 2006.[82] On 11 January 2007, in a 20–13 vote the congress of the northern state of Coahuila legalized same-sex civil unions under the name Pacto Civil de Solidaridad (PCS, Civil Pact of Solidarity), which gives property and inheritance rights to same-sex couples. Similar to France's Pacte Civil de Solidarité and Germany's Eingetragene Lebenspartnerschaft.[83][84]

Political party Members Yes No Abstain Absent
PRI Party (Mexico).svg Institutional Revolutionary Party 20 19 1
PAN Party (Mexico).svg National Action Party 9 9
PRD Party (Mexico).svg Party of the Democratic Revolution 2 1 1
Unidad Democrática de Coahuila.jpg Democratic Unity of Coahuila 2 2
PVE Party (Mexico).svg Ecologist Green Party of Mexico 1 1
PT Party (Mexico).svg Labor Party 1 1
Total 35 20 13 2

"The PCS represents a sensible response to the existence of citizens who traditionally have been victims of discrimination, humiliation and abuse. This does not have to do with morality. It has to do with legality. As human beings, we have to protect them as they are. It has to do with civil liberty," said congresswoman Julieta López, who pushed the bill, of the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), whose 19 members voted for the law.[84] Luis Alberto Mendoza, deputy of the center-right National Action Party (PAN), which opposed, said the new law was an "attack against the family, which is society's natural group and is formed by a man and a woman."[84] Other than that, the PCS drew little opposition. Bishop Raúl Vera, who heads the Catholic Diocese of Saltillo, declined to condemn the law. While Vera insisted that "two women or two men cannot get married," he also sees gay people as a vulnerable minority. "Today we live in a society that is composed in a different way. There are people who do not want to marry under the law or in the church. They need legal protection. I should not abandon these people."[83] Unlike Mexico City's law, once same-sex couples have registered in Coahuila, the state protects their rights no matter where they live in the country.[83] Twenty days after the law had passed, the country's first same-sex civil union took place in Saltillo, Coahuila. It was between 29-year-olds Karina Almaguer and Karla Lopez, a lesbian couple from Tamaulipas.[85] Since 2007, 196 same-sex couples have entered into a PCS, none of them have been annulled.[86]


In July 2009, the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) introduced a formal initiative to legalize civil unions in the western state of Colima.[87] Nevertheless, the following month, the local legislature decided not to take up the initiative, following widespread opposition from right-wing groups.[88] In December 2009, Governor of Colima Mario Anguiano Moreno agreed to discuss the legalization of civil unions and adoption by same-sex couples in the current legislature.[89] On 4 July 2013, the State Congress approved a new form of union, called "enlace conyugal" (conjugal bond) for same-sex couples, which according to PRI Deputy Martín Flores Castañeda grants the same rights and obligations as marriage, but it is doubtful whether such rights and obligations would be recognized outside the state.[90]


In 2013, deputies of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), Citizens' Movement (MC) and an independent deputy presented the Free Coexistence Act (Ley de Libre Convivencia).[91] In it is established that same-sex civil unions can be applied in the state, as long as they are not considered as marriages, there is no adoption and they are performed with a civil law notary.[91][92] On 31 October 2013, Jalisco congress approved the Act in a 20–15 vote,[4] one abstained and three were absent.[92]

Political party Members Yes No Abstain Absent
PRI Party (Mexico).svg Institutional Revolutionary Party 17 15 1 1
PAN Party (Mexico).svg National Action Party 13 11 2
PRD Party (Mexico).svg Party of the Democratic Revolution 2 2
PVE Party (Mexico).svg Ecologist Green Party of Mexico 1 1
Movimiento Ciudadano.svg Citizens' Movement 5 1 3 1
     Independent 1 1
Total 39 20 15 1 3

Other states[edit]

Similar bills have been proposed by the PRD in at least six states.[93] On December 7, 2006, a similar bill to that of Mexico City was proposed in Puebla, but it faced strong opposition and criticism from deputies of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN), who declared that "the traditional family is the only social model, and there cannot be another one."[94] Additionally, gay rights legislation that could likely include civil unions is being debated in Guerrero.[93]

Public opinion[edit]

In a Parametría poll, conducted from 17 to 20 November 2006, 1,200 Mexican adults were asked if they would support a constitutional amendment that would legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico. 17% responded yes, 61% said no and 14% had no opinion. The same poll showed 28% in support of same-sex civil unions, 41% were opposed and 28% had no opinion.[95] From 27 to 30 November 2009, major Mexican newspaper El Universal polled 1,000 Mexico City citizens concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage in the city. 50% supported it, 38% were against it and 12% had no idea. The same poll showed that support was stronger among the youngest population (age: 18–29), 67%, and weaker among the oldest (age: 50-onwards), 38%. With 48% the most cited reason was "right of choice" for the supporters, followed by "everybody is equal" with 14%. 39% of the opposers cited "it is not normal" as the main reason to not support same-sex marriage, followed by "we lose values" with 18%.[96]

A study conducted by Vanderbilt University in 2010 concluded that 37.8% of Mexicans support same-sex marriage.[97]

Guillermo Bustamante Manilla, a PAN member and president of UNPF, as well as the father of Guillermo Bustamante Artasánchez, a law director of the Secretary of the Interior, opposes abortion and same-sex civil unions[98] and has called the latter as "anti-natural."[99] He has publicly asked voters not to cast votes for "abortionists" parties and those who are in favor of homosexual relationships.[100]

A poll conducted in July 2013 found a significant increase in support for same-sex marriage, with 52% of Mexicans in favour of legalising same-sex marriage. When broken down by religion, support was 52% among Roman Catholics and 62% among non-religious people. However, in the same poll, only 24% of respondents supported same-sex adoption.[101]

See also[edit]


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