This Mexican State Just Legalized Same-Sex Marriage and Outlawed Conversion Therapy

The Mexican state of Yucatán has legalized same-sex marriage and banned conversion therapy in a groundbreaking move.

In a four-hour session, Yucatán’s Congress voted 20-5 to pass a measure to legalize same-sex marriage. The bill modifies Article 94 of the state’s constitution to redefine marriage as any “free and voluntary legal union” between two people, according to the Spanish newspaper El País.

Prior to the move, marriage in Yucatan, a coastal Gulf state adjacent to Cancún, was constitutionally defined as a union solely between opposite-sex couples. In order to be legally married, the rule forced LGBTQ+ partners to apply for an “exception.” This was despite the fact that Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled state-level prohibitions against same-sex marriage in 2015.

The battle for equality has been long fought, according to local activists. Yucatán’s Congress previously rejected measures to legalize marriage equality in a secret 2019 vote. This led advocacy groups like Colectivo por la Protección de Todas las Familias en Yucatán (Colectivo PTF), Article 19, Indignación, and UNASSE to file injunctions against the vote, claiming that it was illegal and unconstitutional, according to a press release from the organizations.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of LGBTQ+ activists last week, effectively forcing the legislature to repeat the vote. This time the deliberations concluded more favorably for Yucatán’s LGBTQ+ community.

Indignación and Colectivo PTF Yucatán applauded the legislature’s long-awaited vote in favor of equality.

“[T]oday they have finally done their job of repairing the damage to the LGBTQ+ community by legislating in favor of the recognition of their rights to equality and non-discrimination in the form of marriage and cohabitation,” the groups said in a joint statement, before lauding local lawmakers for holding the debate in an “open and transparent way.”

The organizations also urged Yucatán’s government to publicize the new law as soon as possible and to ensure same-sex couples do not face additional discrimination when seeking a marriage license.

“There is much to legislate, public policies to implement, justice to access, and our work will continue there,” the statement continued. “But today we celebrate this victory, which has been worked for over a decade by our community by countless LGBTQ people and allies.”

The legislature also voted unanimously to criminalize the provision of so-called conversion therapy. Medical professionals or other individuals who are found guilty of practicing conversion therapy can face up to three years in prison, according to Mexican newspaper Milenio. The penalty can reportedly be doubled in cases where a minor is subjected to the discredited, harmful practice.

Yucatán is the 22nd state to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico, following Sinaloa in June and Baja California earlier this month. The Supreme Court ruling on the Yucatán law could mean that similar cases could be brought against the remaining 11 Mexican states that don’t allow same-sex marriage, according to Reuters.

Those states include Durango, Sonora, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz. They are expected to approve same-sex marriage by the end of this year, as the independent news publication People’s Dispatch reports.

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Author:Condé Nast
Published:Aug 30, 2021 at 12:00 PM
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