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Mexico high court rules Mexico City same-sex marriages must be recognized nationwide

The Supreme Court of Mexico [official website, in Spanish] ruled 9-2 Tuesday that same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive] performed in Mexico City must be recognized nationwide. The court found that although Mexico's 31 states are not required to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in their jurisdictions, they must confer marital rights to same-sex couples married in Mexico City. The two dissenting justices argued that the ruling would violate the principles of federalism [El Universal report, in Spanish] and allow same-sex couples to circumvent state law by traveling to the capital to get married. Although the court did not clarify exactly which marital rights must be recognized by state governments, it has been speculated that it will apply [NYT report] to rights such as alimony, inheritance and the coverage of spouses under the federal social security system. The court also heard arguments on whether adoptions by same-sex couples allowed under the Mexico City law is constitutional. The decision is expected later this week. Tuesday's decision comes one week after the court ruled 8-2 that the Mexico City's same-sex marriage law is constitutional [JURIST report]. The law, passed last year [JURIST report], was challenged by Mexican Attorney General Arturo Chavez [official website, in Spanish], who had argued that allowing same-sex marriages violates the guarantee of familial integrity under the Mexican Constitution [text, PDF]. The court rejected this argument, finding that the constitution did not specify what constituted a family. The court found that the regulation of marriage licenses was a state function.

In December, Mexico City's legislative assembly [official website, in Spanish] approved the same-sex marriage law. The legislation allows for marriage, adoption, inheritance and other economic and social rights. The provision also seeks to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. The state of Chihuahua is currently the only state in Mexico that recognizes same-sex civil unions [JURIST news archive]. Last month, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez [official website, in Spanish] signed a same-sex marriage bill into law after the bill was approved by the legislature [JURIST reports], making Argentina the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Last week, a US federal judge ruled that the California state ban on same-sex marriage violates the US Constitution [JURIST report]. Same-sex marriage is currently recognized in several US jurisdictions, and nationwide in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and South Africa [JURIST reports].

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