First gay couples marry in Mexico City

Fri. March 12, 2010 12:00 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Mexico City, Mexico - Five gay and lesbian couples tied the knot Thursday in Mexico City, the first to marry since a gay marriage law went into effect in the nation's capital, Mexico's Notimex news agency reported.

In a brief 20 minute ceremony, the couples married in the courtyard of the Municipal Palace.

After uniting four couples, presiding judge Hegel Cortes called the day historic for the evolution of one of the most important rights. City officials, including Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, accompanied the couples as they signed their official marriage certificates. Amid tears and applause, city officials handed each couple a bouquet of flowers.

Mexico City's law, approved by lawmakers in December, is a first for Latin America. Previously, the city government recognized gay couples with civil unions, but gay couples were not allowed to adopt. The new law includes all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, including the right to adopt children.

In an effort to derail last Thursday's start of the law, Mexico's federal government appealed to the country's Supreme Court. The federal Attorney General's Office argued that the law was unconstitutional because it "strays from the responsibility of the government to place a priority on safeguarding the interests of children."

While the court has yet to review the federal challenge, it upheld the law in rejecting challenges brought by the governors of three states controlled by the PAN Party. The governors had argued that the law would force their state governments to recognize the marriages of gay couples from Mexico City. The court, however, said the states did not have the legal authority to challenge the laws of another state or the nation's federal district of Mexico City.

After the ceremony, actress Jesusa Rodriguez and her partner of 30 years, Liliana Felipe, arrived and explained that their flight had delayed their arrival. The pair were married by judge Sofia Perez Gutierrez.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine