On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Mexico determined that state law could not be used to prohibit same-sex marriage in the southern state of Oaxaca.
The Court found that the law, which included the statement “one of the purposes of marriage is the perpetuation of the species,” could not be used to prohibit same-sex marriage because it “violates the principle of equality.” While the court’s decision does not challenge the constitutionality of the law, it does assert that the law cannot be interpreted to define marriage as between a man and a woman. According to Alex Alí Méndez Díaz, the lawyer defending the couples involved, “The court did not declare the unconstitutionality of the law, but the effect of its application is that the justices said that one would have to understand marriage is a contract celebrated between two people without any reference to the sex of those who enter into it.”
Activists hope that this could spread a wave of change throughout the country. LGBT activist and blogger from Mexico City, Enrique Torre Molina, told the Washington Blade “It’s not going to be long before same-sex marriage is a reality in the whole country. … It’s a matter of same-sex couples who have been thinking about getting married and haven’t done it either because they’re not in Mexico City and traveling is not an option or because they were going to get no for an answer. It’s just a matter of time of trying it out as these couples in Oaxaca [did] and sort of contribute to this history.”
Currently, same-sex marriage is only legal in the capital, Mexico City. Wednesday’s decision will also give precedent for cases in other parts of the country.
The Mexican Supreme Court’s decision comes while the United States Supreme Court considers whether or not to take a case that challenges the American federal ban on same-sex marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).