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Gay Couples Can Adopt in Mexico City, But They Aren’t Applying
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September 9, 2011

Gay couples wed in March 2010 under the new law legalizing gay marriage in Mexico City. (Photo: Javier Hidalgo @ Flickr)

Mexico City made history when the local government passed one of the world’s most liberal same-sex marriage laws. Now, the Mexican capital is one of the few places in the world where gay couples can legally adopt children.

Curiously, however, almost no one has taken the government up on its offer.

It’s been just over a year since the Mexican government settled the question of gay couples’ adoption rights in Mexico City, yet so far only one couple has filed for permission to adopt a child, according to the city’s System for Integral Family Development.

Mexico City’s legislative assembly voted 31 to 24, with nine abstentions, in December 2009 to allow adoption by gay couples. The city’s recognition of gay couple’s legal adoption rights sparked vocal rejection from the Catholic Church and the conservative National Action Party (PAN, in Spanish).

The federal Attorney General sued the city over the law, arguing that altering the definition of marriage violated the Constitution. Instead of overturning the law, however, in August 2010 the Court mandated all the states in the union must recognize gay couples’ rights to marriage and adoption.

But despite legal guarantees, the majority of Mexicans continue to view adoption by gay parents negatively. The National Survey on Discrimination (ENADIS, in Spanish), conducted in late 2010, found that some 80 percent of Mexicans older than 50 opposed adoption by gay couples.

While rejection of the idea of adoption by gay couples is widespread in Mexico — where violence against the LGBT community continues — it tends to decrease with age. Seventy percent of adults between the ages of 30 and 49 opposed the idea. The youngest group surveyed — those aged between 12 and 17 — polled the most favorably, with 23.3 percent supporting adoption by gay men and 30 percent supporting adoption by lesbian couples.

More than 1,000 gay couples have married in Mexico City since the new law took effect in December 2009. Foreigners, however, make up six percent of those marriages, according to the city government.