Following some areas’ refusal to recognize same-sex nuptials performed after an order from the former Governor of Guerrero, a state LGBT rights group is now offering legal representation to couples who want their marriages recognized to the fullest.
In June of 2015, the now ex-Governor of Guerrero instructed Civil Registries to allow same-sex couples to marry in the state. He was witness to a mass wedding in Acapulco the following July, but in January of 2016, the head of Acapulco’s Civil Registry dismissed the legality of the weddings observed since then due to the Guerrero Civil Code retaining the heterosexual definition of marriage, and stated that they would not be recognized by the Registry.
During a press conference for the planned mass wedding on Valentine’s Day, the head of the State Civil Registry Department announced that all marriages performed in Guerrero since the executive order are legally valid, although the recognition and act of performing them falls on each municipality within the state.
In Mexico, same-sex marriages are recognized on both a state and a federal level and couples can always turn to the court system to obtain an injunction in any place in the country that does not perform same-sex weddings, but the process can be both timely and expensive. Only Mexico City and the states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, some registries in Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit and Quintana Roo perform marriages freely.
Earlier this month, the Guerrero Association of Gays and Lesbians announced their intention of taking Civil Registries to court. The first case mentioned at the press conference was that of a lesbian couple who married in Acapulco a month before the Civil Registry’s statement against the recognition of marriages brought about by the Governor’s order. A district judge ruled for the couple and the attorney representing the women says that four more suits are in the works.
Although seen as a good first step, having states issue marriage licenses through executive orders can run the risk of causing distress to couples if state leaders or registry department heads change and are replaced with people not open to the idea.
A bill to codify and change the matrimonial language on the state’s books to gender-neutral is currently stalled in Congress. The passage of the bill would erase any hurdle for obtaining a marriage license and guarantee that the couples have all the benefits of heterosexual spouses.
For more information on Mexico’s journey to marriage equality, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_Mexico