Amor Es Amor: The fight for marriage equality in Mexico

Culture Editor Elliote Long, reflects on the current situation in Mexico and discusses the realities of true marriage equality within the nation…


(Photo Credit: Ted McGrath)


In 2009, Mexico City made history by becoming the first city in Latin America to approve marriage equality for LGBT+ people. Last month, LGBT+ activists in the capital were celebrating again as the rights of LGBT+ families, with or without children, were officially enshrined in the city’s constitution. However, this recent victory seems bitter-sweet after months of hostile debate over President Peña Nieto’s more far-reaching marriage equality reforms. In May, the President announced a bill that would recognise same-sex marriage and adoption rights in Mexico’s national constitution and bring marriage equality to all 31 states of the Republic. Following the announcement, and particularly in the months running up to the final vote on the bill, Mexico erupted in a heated conflict over the matter. A coalition calling itself the National Front for the Family (El Frente Nacional por la Familia) organised marches in cities throughout the country and delivered petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures calling for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. LGBT+ activists responded to these ‘Marchas por la Familia’ with their own demonstrations and all through September and into October Mexico was ablaze with this intense controversy. Despite the inspiring fervor of LGBT+ activists and allies, the bill was eventually rejected by the chamber of deputies in November.

(Photo credit: Petr Kosina)

The violence that LGBT+ people face in Mexico comes in many forms: hate crimes, the second-highest murder rate of trans people in the world, and institutionalised discrimination at every level. And when 72% of LGB people surveyed by The National Survey on Discrimination in Mexico feel that their rights are not respected, it is clear that the problem of prejudice is very deep-rooted and far-reaching in Mexico. As we can see in countries that have achieved breakthroughs in the law, marriage equality is not a fix-all solution for homophobic and trans-misogynistic violence. But if we see the inequality in marriage laws as part of this violence we can recognise what an important step marriage equality would be in the fight for LGBT+ rights in Mexico. The vitriolic protests against the reform have shown the true magnitude of anti-LGBT+ hatred in Mexico. We can only hope that the recent reform to the capital’s constitution is a sign that the tide is turning in the right direction.


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(Photo Credit: Blok 70)


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