Mexican Supreme Court Cites U.S. Supreme Court In Marriage Equality Ruling

Mexico Minister Arturo Zaldívar Lelo de Larrea

In December, the Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and that decision was finally published on Monday. Writing on behalf of a unanimous court, Minister Arturo Zaldívar Lelo de Larrea actually cited two decisions by the United States Supreme Court, Loving v. Virginia and Brown v. Board of Education, to highlight other forms of discrimination that have been rebuked in law (translated from Spanish by BuzzFeed):

The historical disadvantages that homosexuals have suffered have been well recognized and documented: public harassment, verbal abuse, discrimination in their employment and in access to certain services, in addition to their exclusion to some aspects of public life. In this sense … when they are denied access to marriage it creates an analogy with the discrimination that interracial couples suffered in another era. In the celebrated case Loving v. Virginia, the United States Supreme Court argued that “restricting marriage rights as belonging to one race or another is incompatible with the equal protection clause” under the US constitution. In connection with this analogy, it can be said that the normative power of marriage is worth little if it does grant the possibility to marry the person one chooses. […]

It can be said that the [other] models for recognition of same-sex couples, even if the only difference with marriage be the name given to both types of institutions, are inherently discriminatory because the constitute a regime of “separate but equal.” Like racial segregation, founded on the unacceptable idea of white supremacy, the exclusion of homosexual couples from marriage also is based on prejudice that historically has existed against homosexuals. Their exclusion from the institution of marriage perpetuates the notion that same-sex couples are less worthy of recognition than heterosexuals, offending their dignity as people.

This particular ruling will only apply to the three couples who filed suit, because the Mexico Supreme Court can only strike down a law after ruling the same way in five separate cases. Two more same-sex couples from the state of Oaxaca will have to file a similar suit, and then the process may also have to repeat in other states. Mexico City already offers same-sex marriages and the Supreme Court has also ruled that those marriages must be recognized in other states.

The Washington Blade notes that same-sex couples can already marry in Argentina, and progress is also being made in Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, and French Guiana.