The Mexico City assembly approved a bill Monday permitting same-sex couples to marry, reports The Guardian. It is the first major Latin American city to do so. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is expected to sign the bill, which alters the city code to define marriage as “the free uniting of two people,” instead of its current definition as a union between a man and a woman.
If the bill becomes law, same-sex couples will gain a series of rights, including the ability to legally adopt children, obtain joint bank loans, inherit wealth, and be added to their spouse”s insurance. Mexico City has recognized civil unions since 2007, but the unions did not confer legal rights.
Mexico would become the 8th country in the world in which same-sex marriage is legal. Gay rights activists and progressive lawmakers praised the vote and celebrated in the city legislature.
“Mexico City has put itself in the vanguard,” said Mexico City legislator Victor Hugo Romo. “This is a historic day.”
The conservative National Action Party and the Roman Catholic Church opposed the bill and called on Mayor Ebrard to veto it. The NAP has promised to challenge the bill in court if Ebrard signs it.
Liberals are backing the bill and cited a triumph over hate and discrimination. “For centuries, unfair laws prohibited marriage between whites and blacks, between Europeans and Indians,” legislator Romo said. “Today, all the barriers have disappeared.”