Same-sex marriage in Chihuahua
Same-sex marriage has been legal in the Mexican state of Chihuahua since 12 June 2015, as a result of a decree by Chihuahuan Governor César Horacio Duarte Jáquez. By statute, in Mexico, if any five rulings from the courts on a single issue result in the same outcome, legislatures are bound to change the law. In the case of Chihuahua, more than 20 individual amparos (injunctions) were decided with the same outcome, yet the Legislature did not act. In anticipation of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation ordering the Congress to act, the Governor announced there would be no further prohibition in the state.
On 30 April 2013, a male same-sex couple asked the Civil Registry of Chihuahua to marry. The Civil Registry rejected it because the State Civil Code defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. On 7 May 2013, the couple appealed the decision of the Civil Registry and on 19 August, Judge José Juan Múzquiz Gómez, of the Tenth District Court of Chihuahua, recognized that they had the right to marry. The Civil Registry had up to 3 September to appeal the decision. The Government of the state did not appeal the decision and allowed the deadline to pass, thereby allowing the couple to marry. On 31 October 2013, a second couple in the state (and the first lesbian couple) was awarded injunction 389/2013 in the 7th District Court. In February 2014, they married and were the first same-sex couple to marry in the municipality of Juárez. On 22 November 2013, Judge Ignacio Cuenca Zamora, from the Eighth District Court, granted the third injunction in the state to a lesbian couple. In December 2013, a fourth couple in Chihuahua was granted an injunction. They were the first male couple to marry in Juárez and solemnized their marriage on 13 February 2014. In February 2014, a fifth individual injunction to marry in Chihuahua was granted to Hiram Gonzalez, president of the Center for Humanistic Grouping Related to Sexual Orientation Studies (CHEROS).
On 19 March 2014, seven lesbian couples each applied for a marriage license and were rejected. They subsequently applied for an injunction. On 30 June 2014, twenty-six additional couples filed a collective amparo. In July 2014, a same-sex couple was granted the right to marry via injunction, but the judge gave no instructions for reform to the Congress, Civil Registry or the Governor of the State. Unsatisfied with the scope of the judgment, an appeal was launched on 16 July 2014. On 17 October 2014, the case was elevated to the Supreme Court and was the first hearing of an equality case from Chihuahua presented to the High Court. On 22 April 2015, the SCJN agreed to hear a case to determine if couples who filed injunctions were entitled to reparations from the state. In mid-August 2014, a 6th same-sex marriage was held in Chihuahua. On 20 August 2014, another same-sex marriage occurred in the state. By August 2014, same-sex marriages had only occurred in Ciudad Juárez and in Chihuahua City. However, by July 2014, 33 amparos had been filed in the state, 22 in the capital and 11 in Ciudad Juárez, and only nine had been approved. On 13 December 2014, a mass wedding for four lesbian couples who had obtained injunctions was held in Ciudad Juárez, which brought the total of same-sex weddings in the state to 14 for 2014. In February 2015, it was announced that 25 amparos had been successful in the state, but no legislative action had resolved the unconstitutional articles of the Civil Code.
In late December 2015, two same-sex couples were granted injunctions to marry. On 1 June 2016, the First Chamber of the Mexican Supreme Court ruled discriminatory Articles 134 and 135 of Chihuahua's Civil Code, thereby granting an amparo to two women who wanted to marry. These three cases indicated that some municipalities in the state were not following Governor César Horacio Duarte Jáquez's decree.
In February 2017, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled for the fifth time that Chihuahua's Civil Code is unconstitutional because it hadn't yet been modified to be consistent with the fact that same-sex marriage is legal (See "México Igualitario Project"). The Supreme Court ordered the state Congress to change its Civil Code within 90 days. Following the ruling, several conservative lawmakers said they would defy the Court. A PAN deputy erroneously claimed that the Supreme Court cannot force the state to change its Civil Code. The Social Encounter Party, a right-wing political party, announced they would sue the state for allowing same-sex couples to marry. However, Governor, and member of PAN, Javier Corral Jurado called for same-sex marriage to be discussed in Congress. In late March, the Civil Registry of Chihuahua made necessary modifications to marriage certificates, changing the words "groom's name" and "bride's name" with "names of the contracting parties", thus also applying to same-sex couples. Changes to birth certificates were also made. These changes caused an uproar within conservative groups. In April 2017, the Governor issued an executive order reinstating the words "mother" and "father" on birth certificates. Even though the Supreme Court had ordered Congress to change the Civil Code within 90 days, by December 2017, the Civil Code had still not been modified to comply with the Mexican Constitution by removing the heterosexual definition of marriage.
In December 2012, lawmakers were presented with a proposal to amend Article 143 of the Civil Code of the state of Chihuahua, allowing for same-sex marriage to be legal. After years with no legislative action, in July 2014, the PAN bloc announced that they would consider approving civil unions in the state, but not same-sex marriage. The LGBT community rejected the proposal because it would not provide the possibility for the spouses to share social security benefits or pensions or other legal benefits of marriage. In response to legislative inaction, a collective injunction was filed in July 2014 with the aim of having the Civil Code declared unconstitutional. The collective injunction was approved on 13 November 2014 and had Articles 134 and 135 of the state's Civil Code declared unconstitutional, requiring reparations to the couples and ordering the State Congress to legislate for same-sex marriage. In early February 2015, Judge Cuenca Zamora ruled that the state of Chihuahua had an obligation to abide by the findings of the injunction. His legal opinion was forwarded to the Parliamentary Coordination Board to begin the legislative processes to implement change in the Civil Code.
After the Supreme Court issued its directive that courts must approve injunctions for same-sex marriage based on constitutional protections that rights must be equally provided without distinction to all people, PAN Deputy María Eugenia Campos Galván, presented an initiative to the Chihuahuan Congress to limit marriage to one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation. Her proposal was supported by the PAN block of legislators.
In September 2016, lawmakers opposed to same-sex marriage unsuccessfully tried to repeal the Governor's decree. On 9 March 2017, a bill to amend Article 143 of the state Civil Code was introduced by PRD deputy Crystal Tovar Aragón.
On 11 June 2015, the state Governor announced the state would no longer prevent same-sex marriage, making Chihuahua the fourth jurisdiction in Mexico to have legal same-sex marriage without having to result to individual injunctions. Governor César Duarte Jáquez announced that licenses would be available beginning 12 June.
In April 2017, multiple Mexican media outlets reported that the Governor of Chihuahua had issued a decree banning same-sex marriage in the state. A few days later, the Governor clarified that he had issued a decree reverting to the old birth certificate forms, but denied issuing a decree banning same-sex marriage. He affirmed that same-sex couples are allowed to get married in the state without the need of a court order. In addition, he said he had already personally married 30 same-sex couples in Delicias, Ciudad Cuauhémoc and Ciudad Juárez.
According to the state DIF, the Office of the Defense of Children and the Family performs the same protocol for all couples seeking to adopt regardless of their sexual orientation. By June 2016, five same-sex couples had requested to adopt. In June 2017, the birth of the daughter of a married same-sex couples was recorded in Chihuahua City, the state capital. A second same-sex couple were able to successfully record the birth of their child in late June 2017.
190 same-sex marriages occurred in the state in the first year following the Governor's decree.
From January 2017 to November 2017, 300 same-sex couples got married in the state. Additionally, during that time period, 2 same-sex adoptions were carried out in the state.
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