The Supreme Court of Mexico [official website, in Spanish] on Monday published the written judgment [materials, in Spanish] for its December decision striking down Oaxaca's same-sex marriage ban. In its reasoning the Mexican high court compared the Oaxaca law to US legislation held to be unconstitutional in two US Supreme Court cases. First, in the 1967 case Loving v. Virigina [opinion text], the US Supreme Court held that a state law banning interracial marriages, based solely on racial classifications, violated the Equal Protection and Due Process [Cornell LII backgrounders] clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution. Second, in the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka [opinion text], the Court held that laws requiring or permitting racial segregation in public schools also violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection clause. The Supreme Court of Mexico compared the racial discrimination in these US cases to the discriminatory nature of same-sex marriage bans, holding that such laws discriminate by depriving same-sex couples both of the right to marry and of the right to marital benefits. Moreover, the court stated that under such laws the children of same-sex couples face discrimination by receiving treatment different from that received by children of heterosexual couples. The court's ruling mandates that in accordance with principles of equity, the Oaxaca civil code must be written to describe marriage as between two people.
The Mexican Supreme Court made its unanimous decision [JURIST report] on the Oaxaca case in December, but refrained from publishing its written judgment until this week. In the US same-sex marriage is currently legal in nine states, as well as the District of Columbia. Last week the Illinois State Senate [official website] voted 34-21 to lift the ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST report] in the state of Illinois. Last month the Rhode Island House of Representatives [official website] by a 51-19 margin approved a bill to legalize same-sex marriage [JURIST report] in the Rhode Island. Later this year the US Supreme Court will likely decide the constitutionality of state and federal laws [JURIST report] defining marriage strictly as the union of one man and one woman.