The Mexico City legislative assembly voted on Thursday to legalize civil unions for same-sex partnerships, giving lesbians and gays, along with individuals in platonic, same-sex relationships, the ability to make medical decisions for each other as well as list their partners as beneficiaries of pensions and inheritances. The civil union measure, which passed 47-17, will apply to the citys 8.7 million residents. Five percent of Mexicans identify themselves as homosexual, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Mexico is a notoriously conservative country strongly dominated by Roman Catholicism. Several conservative groups have already said they will challenge this legislation in court, though the mayor of Mexico City, Alejandro Encinas, is expected to sign the legislation into law. Mexico City is the second city in Latin America to legalize civil unions, after Buenos Aires, Argentina did in 2002, reported the Houston Chronicle. Similar gay-rights legislation has already been introduced in Mexico’s Coahuila state, which borders Texas.
Said Enoe Uranga, a lesbian activist who in 2001 proposed the first civil union bill: “It was a long, intense battle, but today we finally won. Now we have to fight to apply the law, to show the citizenry that this is a noble law . This is a historic day.”