by Carly Nairn
In what must have been the quietest decision in favor of equal rights in recent history, the Mexican Supreme Court issued a decree earlier in June against discriminatory restrictions in certain states that only allow heterosexual couples to wed, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, according to the New York Times.
Mexico City (a federal district), and the state of Coahuila (located near the US border), were the only places within the country to enact same-sex marriage before the Court’s ruling. The other thirty-one states within Mexico legally define marriage as between a man and a woman, and those laws remain. Yet the country’s Supreme Court “has steadily agreed, granting injunctions in individual cases permitting gay couples to marry in states where the laws forbid it.”
Individual Mexican states still may restrict same-sex couples from marrying, but the new ruling allows couples to seek injunctions from district courts if they are denied the right to marry, and district judges are now obligated to grant them marriage certificates.
Mexico is home to one of the largest Roman Catholic populations in the world. The court’s ruling was made only weeks after another prominent Catholic country, Ireland, voted in favor of marriage equality.
Now the nation has joined a growing list of Latin and South American countries, including Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Brazil, that recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions. However, a few exceptions, such as Belize and Guyana, still have anti-LGBT laws on the books.
The Court’s decision may be a bellwether for other high court decisions regarding marriage equality, including the US Supreme Court, which is currently in deliberations on legalizing same-sex marriage across the country. The US court’s decision should be made by the end of June.