News & Politics

¡Arriba México! Moving forward on Marriage Equality

Last week some amazing news came from Mexico regarding same-sex marriage. To understand what’s going on, I had a long chat (more than two hours!) with Mexican activists Criseida and Ana.

They have been blogging as Las Dos Mamis since 2006 as Las Dos Mamis. Their blog was one of the first I found in Spanish, back when Clare was writing Familia Lesbiana here on Lesbian Family. Ana and Criseida got married in Mexico D.F. and are now in the struggle for the legal recognition of their twins, Diego and Santiago. They have done a lot for the visibility of lesbian families and for marriage equality in Mexico.

Right now same-sex couples can get married in Mexico D.F. and if they find a Judge willing to marry them, also in the state of Quintana Roo. These marriages must to be recognized in the rest of the country by Law even though some states (18 out of 31) have their legislation saying specifically that marriage should be only between a man and a woman. In some of those states it was added after same-sex marriage was approved in Mexico D.F. as a response from the conservative right wing. Now activists are fighting for couples not to have to go to the DF to get married.

Last week, on December 5th, to be more precise, Mexico’s Supreme National Court of Justice (CSJN)  gave positive judgement to the Amparos (something like an appeal for Constitutional right’ s legal protection) that three couples presented because they were denied the right to get married in Oaxaca on the grounds of Article 143 of this state’s Civil Code, which states that marriage is only between a man and a woman. They judgement on Amparos 457/2012, 567/2012 and 581/2012 was grounded on Article 143 being unconstitutional and the lack of protection for LGBT families.

If two more similar appeals get positive judgement (and there are no negative judgements in between) it would set Jurisprudence and same-sex marriage would be available for couples nationwide. If you can read Spanish, check out this article Ana and Criseida recommended to see the impact this has on the fight for equality:

Qué significa la decisión de la primera sala de la SCJN sobre matrimonio igualitario

According to this article, this was not the best possible outcome for LGBT families because the unconstitutionality of Article 143 was only and argument to the judgement and it was not actually ruled out and the plan is to work on more Amparos like these to force the state to rule this Article not valid. To see more about the legal strategy for marriage equality in Mexico, check this out: Litigios Estratégicos a favor de los derechos del Colectivo LGBT.

Criseida and Ana also told me about the fight for legal recognition of kids with same-sex parents. If a same-sex couple is married and has kids then they are legally recognized as a family. Something that got my attention was an issue with last name. Here in Argentina same-sex couples get to decided the order of their kids last names but straight couples don’t. So marriage equality lead to questions about this and we definitely need to change some sexist Laws. In Mexico, apparently gay dads get to pick the order of last names, lesbians don’t, they have to go with the last name of mom that gave birth first (if one of them gave birth, of course, I’m not sure what happens if they adopt) and there’s a note in the paperwork that says “substitute of the father”. Straight couples can’t choose either. When Ana and Criseida consulted a Lawyer about last names, she told them “I will not help you to discriminate heterosexual women, who can’t choose where their last name goes”.

There’s also the cases of couples who had kids before same-sex marriage was available in Mexico, like Ana and Criseida’ s who have to go to trial so the non-legal mom can adopt their kids after proving the non-legal mom is a “good parent”. In this regards, Criseida told me “here in Mexico, we achieved the possibility of marriage for same-sex couples in the Capital city, but talking about children is still a taboo. We have to go through long processes to adopt our own kids, who already live with us. Socially, we have to be alert because we have a Law that protects us but institutions that don’t respect that Law and we need to be reminding them…”. A lot of families choose to stay in the closet, especially outside Mexico D.F. out of fear of losing their jobs, among other things. They don’t and Ana says this is not easy “because when you decide to be open, institutions automatically watch you to make sure you are not a bad mother”.



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  1. Ana y Cris! Que felicidad verte aca. Tus hijos han crecido tanto. Preciosos!!!! Besos a los quatro.

    Translation: Ana and Cris! What a joy to see you here. Your boys have gotten so big. Beautiful! Kiss for all four of you.

  2. Julieta,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to inform all of about this. It is easy to talk about how far we (US) need to go to recognize LGBT families. But, in some ways, at least in insular communities and some states more than others, we do have priviledge. I was so heartened to hear our neighbor to the south (Mexico) and their progress. Keep that tide keeps turning in favor of LGBT families everywhere.

    As for the name, my daughter still isn’t Chilean. We chose to put my last name first and her father’s second. He is a lawyer and supported this idea. While the Registro Civil in Chile can’t point to the law that says his last name must go first, they also haven’t registered her with mine first. I am holding off registering her until we win this battle. Who wants to have different names on her two legal passports?

  3. Wow, Julieta, this is so enormously informative! Such a thicket of laws, and such diverse ways they’re read.

    When you talk about the “order” of the names, I had to double-check this spiffy Wikipedia entry on Spanish naming customs for a primer. I know various folks with a multitude of names (of course only a few in actual functional use) signifying various generations of family, but didn’t know the convention was father’s surname first, mother’s surname second. Fascinating that a desire not to unfairly disadvantage heterosexual women (who–with the exception of those in Spain, apparently!–can’t choose name order) would be a legal basis (or at least current argument) to prevent two women parents from being able to choose whose name comes first.

    Thank you, too, Julieta, for bringing us some of the insights of these ol’ school lesbian family bloggers. And that photograph! Mil gracias to Ana and Cris for sharing that with you, and for your sharing that with all of us.

  4. Thank you both for the kind words. Ana and Cris were great and we spent more than two hours chatting. They provided so much information that it’s not all in this post!

    I read about some projects to change the “Law of Names”, here, in Spain, in Chile… but I don’t know what happened with those. Clare, it sounds so wrong that they won’t register her with her actual name, she already has a passport with it! o.O

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