Guanajuato lawmakers approved same-sex marriage on Monday, just days after neighboring Zacatecas made the practice legal.
The conservative state in the El Bajío industrial region is the 26th where two people of the same gender can legally marry.
The legal change was ordered by decree in a letter sent to the state’s civil registry.
“From this date … the right of all people, without discrimination due to their sexual preference, to contract marriage in our civil registry offices is recognized and made effective,” it read.
The letter added that couples can marry “without the need for any legal remedy.” Previously, same-sex couples were only able to marry after filing for a court injunction, which cost as much as 20,000 pesos (almost US $1,000).
Activist and founder of León Libre (Free León), Juan Pablo Delgado, celebrated the news on social media: “It’s a huge step being taken to build a society that offers equal conditions for all people. Long live diversity,” he said.
However, rights activists from the Bajío said the state Congress still needs to reform its Civil Code, where marital union is defined as that between a husband and wife, the newspaper Reforma reported.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that civil codes defining marriage as between a man and a woman or for the sole purpose of procreation were unconstitutional, but some states have still not changed their laws, meaning that in order to get married within their borders same-sex couples must apply for a marriage license with their local civil registry, be rejected and then file for an injunction and wait for their case to move through the system.
Mexico City was the first entity to recognize gay marriage, doing so in 2010. The states where same-sex marriage has not been fully legalized are Durango, México state, Guerrero, Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz.