In Guanajuato Marriage Is About Love, Not Gender
By Jesús Aguado and Tania Noriz
The Mexican Supreme Court (SCJN) declared unconstitutional the Civil Code that bans same-sex states’ marriage, including the State of Guanajuato. The SCJN considers any link between marriage and personal sexual preferences and/or procreation as discriminatory. Now the judges responsible for the Civil Registry in Guanajuato and all over Mexico must marry same-sex couples requesting the service.
The announcement from the Supreme Court came during the second week in June, previous to the celebration of the International Day of Sexual Diversity celebrated on June 28.
Meanwhile in Guanajuato, Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez is keeping his distance from the topic and leaving decisions to the local deputies. The government Secretariat, Antonio Salvador García López, responsible for civil registries, does not know what to do, and the president of the State Court, Miguel Valadez Reyes, has given the green light to applications for a “writ of amparo,” a remedy for the protection of individual constitutional rights that can be requested from the court that in this case would allow the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) couples to get married in the state.
The first week of June, the SCJN ordered the placement of the jurisprudential thesis 43/2015 in the Judicial Weekly Publication. The document states that all state laws considering the purpose of marriage as procreation or defining marriage as the “union between a man and a woman” are unconstitutional. That thesis quietly opens the doors to gay marriages across the country. If the objective of the marriage were procreation, “then people of certain ages or with health problems could not get married,” remarked Leticia Bonifaz, general director of Studies, Promotion and Development of Human Rights at the SCJN. Bonifaz also commented that the thesis was issued after several resolutions in favor of same-sex couples asking for their right to be married.
The Guanajuato Civil Code does not include a definition of marriage or a statement that it ought to be between a man and a woman. However, in its fifth chapter, on marriage, part 144 states that every union contrary to “perpetuation of the species would not proceed.” In the following articles, it mentions the couple getting married as “spouses” and later as “the husband and the woman.” In April this year at the state congress, the local deputies from the Commission of Justice, presided over by the PRI party, presented a proposal for reforming the Civil Code to make same-sex marriages legal; however, the initiative was not even able get to a plenary session, PRI deputy Martha Helena Lara commented to Atención, due to the interest of the PAN legislators (18, half of the congress). “They do care more about politics than the society,” she said. In 2010, then governor Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, along with other governors from the PAN party, presented a document to the Mexican Supreme Court against the legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption in the Federal District. This document didn’t proceed because the governors could not interfere in decisions of other local congresses.
However, because modifications to the Guanajuato Civil Code have not been made yet, same-sex couples who want to get married in the state must present their amparos to proceed.
The State Public Servant’s Positions Governor Miguel Márquez Márquez
The electronic page of the National Action Party (PAN), party of Márquez Márquez, states in its doctrine on person and freedom that “all forms of discrimination or inequality of opportunities for reasons of sex, age, physical capacities, religion, conviction, economic status, or any other form, ought to be rejected, corrected, or punished.” Nevertheless, according to deputy Martha Helena Lara, in this state the PAN legislators have not respected their doctrine and even more, they are against it. When the press questioned Márquez about the jurisprudential thesis of the SCJN, he categorically commented that “it is a topic of the state congress and they will define it” and made it clear “my government will respect the decision of the legislature.” Although he can present initiatives of law or reforms to the congress, he remarked that on this topic he will not do it. He highlighted that he respects the gay community and he does not have prejudices.
Government Secretary, Antonio Salvador García López
Asked whether the civil registries would celebrate same-sex weddings if they were requested after the thesis from the SCJN, García López commented that they have not received a notification of the resolution yet. He said that if the State Civil Code is unconstitutional, it will have to be reformed. If the Civil Code and its regulation are not reformed by the congress, the civil registries will keep denying the services. He noted that they will be expecting the amparos because “the topic needs to be solved in the local congress…. If a couple goes to the offices of a civil registry and asks for a marriage ceremony, we will not provide it because the State Code has not been reformed,” he noted. García López assured that if there is an amparo commanding them to marry a couple, they will respect it.
Miguel Valadez Reyes, President of the State Court
Valadez assured that at the state court they are judges, and they have to respect the jurisprudential thesis from the Supreme Court. He made it clear that he did not know the content of the thesis well, but it has to be analyzed and respected. Having the document, the state court will not deny the amparos of same sex couples, but everything will depend on the particular case. As a judge, he does not consider that the State Code has to be reformed but thinks that reforming the code would be most prudent.
Local Deputy Martha Helena Lara, Commission of Equality
The legislator commented that her commission and the PRI legislators have always supported the idea of reforming the code to guarantee same-sex marriages. “It is all about human rights, and they need to be respected. We have to respect people’s sexual preferences,” she said. Lara remarked that the reform has not been possible because the PAN legislators “are against the natural evolution of the society,” and she declared that same-sex marriage is a human right “and human rights ought to be a priority for them.”
Lara said, in addition, that the civil registries ought to marry the couples because there is a jurisprudential thesis. If the civil registry denies the right, then the couple can apply to get an amparo and with it, they can go back to the civil registry, and the judge has to provide them the right.
“Homosexuals are not criminal,” she remarked. Two weeks ago, previous to this interview, representatives of the gay community visited her in congress, and those in charge appointed a police officer to follow them through the building. “What happened was terrible. It is a minority, the biggest in the state. We should serve them over the interests of our parties or groups.” Once married, these couples will have the same rights and obligations as conventional couples.
In Mexico, the International Day of Sexual Diversity is celebrated with a parade in Mexico City. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community uses this event as a platform for demonstrating against the lack of reforms to protect their rights or for celebrating an achievement. The newspaper El Excelsior published that this year the parade will be celebrated on Sunday, June 27, and it is expected to gather more than 500,000 participants.