Same-sex marriage in Oaxaca

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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

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Same-sex marriages are not routinely performed in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, although judges have issued marriage certificates in individual cases. Although four decisions of the Mexican Supreme Court have indicated that the law should not be interpreted as "defining marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman", five such decisions are necessary for establishing a precedent for same-sex marriage.[1][2]

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,[3] the U.S. cases Loving v. Virginia and Brown v. Board of Education[4] and Mexico's own anti-discrimination ordinances, they ruled[5] 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.[6] 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 and establish the legal jurisprudence to overturn it.[7] Thus, marriages obtained by injunction could be performed in any state, regardless of whether the state Civil Code had been changed.[8]


State recognition of same-sex relationships in Mexico.
  Same-sex marriage
  Same-sex civil unions
  Same-sex marriages recognized but not performed

In August, 2011 three same-sex couples, four women and two men, applied to be married and were denied by the Civil Registry in Oaxaca.[9] In January, 2012 an injunction was sought, but was denied on 31 January. The couples appealed the judgment to the Collegiate Courts in Civil and Administrative Matters for the State.[10] On 9 April 2012, one of the lesbian couples was granted permission by a judge to marry in Oaxaca, thus becoming the first approval for same-sex marriage in the state. The case was appealed. On 5 December, 2012 the three couples won their appeal from the Supreme Court,[11] but local officials refused to perform the marriages. The case returned to the Supreme Court and an additional ruling in favor of the couples was issued. The first lesbian couple received authorization to marry from the Civil Registrar on 25 February, 2013.[12] They were the first same-sex couple married in Oaxaca and celebrated their marriage on 22 March, 2013.[13][14] The male couple, received notice of their authorization on 3 June, 2013[15] and on 5 June, 2013, the third couple, the second injunction for a lesbian couple, was authorized.[16]

On 26 August 2012, a Mexican federal court judge 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 and two others were reviewed by the Mexican Supreme Court and the Court issued unanimous rulings (amparo) on 5 December 2012 overturning the ban on same-sex marriage in three individual cases.[17][18] To establish precedent however, five individual cases must be decided this way.[1]

On April 23, 2014, the Mexican Supreme Court set further precedent in the State of Oaxaca. The case brought before the Court involved 39 same-sex couples who sought the right to marry, and marked the fourth of five necessary decisions. [19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mexican supreme court decision first step in possible path to national gay marriage". Washington Post. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Michael K. Lavers (6 December 2012). "Mexican Supreme Court rules for marriage equality". The Salon. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
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  13. ^ "Oaxaca celebra su primera boda gay tras fallo de SCJN", Terra, 28 March 2013
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  17. ^ "Mexican judge orders state to perform homosexual ‘marriages’". 2012-08-23. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  18. ^ "Mexico Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Marriage Equality". ThinkProgress. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  19. ^ (Spanish) "La SCJN declara inconstitucional prohibición del matrimonio gay en Oaxaca". CNN México. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-04-26.