Mexico City allows Civil Unions
February 15, 2007
Gay couples celebrate intention to form civil unions in Mexico City
More than 100 Mexican gay couples celebrated their registrations for civil unions in Mexico City's central plaza Wednesday, wearing suits and wedding dresses and throwing rice in a scene akin to a mass engagement party. The couples noted their intent with the nongovernment Citizens Civil Union Network ahead of a law allowing gay couples to register their unions and gain many of the rights of married couples.
Mexico City, a semi-independent capital zone that has some of the same powers as state legislatures, approved the law in November. It takes effect March 16.
Eduardo Martinez, 21, exchanged rings with his partner, Alberto Pichardo, 19, to celebrate their commitment. ''Our families support us. We have taken the decision in good conscience and we are very happy,'' said Martinez, dressed in a gray suit and tie.
Mexico's northern state of Coahuila, bordering Texas, has already enacted a similar law. Last month a lesbian couple there registered for what officials called Mexico's first gay civil union in a ceremony broadcast on national television.
The Roman Catholic Church and the conservative National Action Party of President Felipe Calderon have sharply criticized the laws. While homosexuality is still taboo in many rural parts of Latin America, the region's urban areas are becoming more socially liberal. Argentina's capital of Buenos Aires and the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul have also legalized same-sex civil unions.
At the national level, lawmakers in Costa Rica and Colombia have debated, but not passed, similar measures. (Istra Pacheco, AP)