Mexico City - With 31 votes in favor, five against and three abstentions, the Puebla Congress on Tuesday approved reforms to the Civil Code that guarantee people of the same sex the right to marry as well as recognition of common-law marriages between same-sex couples. With this vote, Puebla became the 14th Mexican state to make gay marriages a right.
The Puebla Congress followed guidelines set by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), which since 2015 has opened the door for homosexual marriages to take place in Mexico, despite the fact that local laws do not consider it legal.
Since then, the SCJN had made three recommendations to the local Puebla Congress to reform its Civil Code. Puebla, a strongly conservative state in the center of the country, where pressures from the Catholic Church and anti-rights groups have repeatedly delayed the vote, eliminated ten articles that considered marriage solely as the union between a man and a woman with the purpose of the reproduction.
"We acknowledge the deputies of Puebla who voted in favor of the initiative for access to marriage between people of the same sex. With this they have given an important show of commitment to respect the human rights of the LGBTIQ + community," the Equal Mexico organization tweeted.
"We will continue to fight for the recognition of other rights that constitute a lagged agenda and that it is also urgent to legislate from the framework of sexual and reproductive rights and human rights in general," asserted the organization, which fights for the rights of the collective LGBTIQ+ community.
"It is always good news [when equal marriage is approved] but Puebla is one of Mexico's most populous states and, historically, has been considered one of the most conservative. We must recognize the important achievements that the LGBT movement and civil societies have made over the last two decades," said Ricardo Baruch, a researcher and activist on issues related to sexual diversity.
For their part, opposition legislators, including those from the conservative National Action Party (PAN) who voted against it, rejected that the reform could open the door to adoption by same-sex couples.
Gay marriage is recognized in Mexico City, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Morelos, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, and San Luis Potosí. While Chiapas, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Baja California and Aguascalientes were pointed out by the SCJN to also accept the union of people of the same sex, since if not, their constitutions or civil codes violate human rights.
Ricardo Baruch considers that the news represents a very important step for the rights of the LGBT community in Puebla, but reminds that there are many pending issues. Among them, the approval of the gender identity law, the prohibition of conversion therapies and the eradication of violence against trans and homosexual people.
"It is important to recognize that while these issues have advanced, there are other human rights issues that have not advanced, such as the decriminalization of abortion. The current Morena government is much more opposed to abortion than to issues related to sexual diversity," says Baruch.
In July 2021, Puebla will hold new elections in which this and other issues will be defining to govern the next three years.
El Pais article translated and edited by Armando Diaz for BanderasNews.com.