Same-sex marriage will be legal throughout Mexico if a proposal presented yesterday by President Enrique Peña Nieto wins approval by Congress.
The president announced the constitutional and civil code changes on the International Day Against Homophobia, introducing plans designed to eliminate official discrimination against same-sex couples.
The proposal would add the term “equal marriage” to the fourth constitutional article, allowing all willing and consenting citizens “to marry without being discriminated for ethnic, national, disability, social condition, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.”
Peña Nieto also said that the federal government will review, modify and, if appropriate, abolish all federal, local and administrative regulations that are discriminatory. The Center for Research in Teaching and Economics (CIDE) and the Law Research Institute of UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, will collaborate with the government in that process.
The president also announced that his administration will assume a strong stance to fight against discrimination and homophobia.
His cabinet, he added, has been instructed to create national campaigns against homophobia while the Education Secretariat was instructed to assess educational plans and create a space within them to promote respect towards diversity.
The Health Secretariat was charged with preventing discrimination at all levels of the health care system, while the national medical service, IMSS, will have to review its bylaws to allow same-sex couple beneficiaries to receive social security services in an efficient manner.
The definition of marriage in the federal civil code will be modified, replacing the current one, “a union of one man and one woman,” with “the union between two persons.”
The new policies against discrimination will also apply to trans-gender individuals. Mexican federal laws will be modified, enabling the minority sector full legal recognition of their gender identity in official identification documents, including passports issued domestically and by embassies and consulates abroad.
Mexico will also be adding a specialized group on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender and intersexual people to its team at the United Nations.
According to Gloria Careaga, a researcher at the Gender Studies Program of UNAM, Mexico is the second most homophobic country in the world in terms of homophobia-related crime, second only to Brazil.
Non-governmental organizations claim that between 1996 and 2015, 1,218 homophobic homicides were committed in Mexico. They say that for every reported and documented case, there are three or four more that are not reported or prosecuted.
Careaga said that homophobia in Mexico is closely tied to misogyny and machismo, and that all stem from an idealized stereotype of masculinity. When society assigns certain exclusive characteristics to men and women, those who don’t comply are then marginalized, questioned and attacked.
“You’re being observed and watched over, and the way you speak, move and express yourself is criticized; it’s an exaggerated social surveillance,” she said.
Same-sex marriage came under the spotlight last year when the Supreme Court ruled that state laws defining marriage as “the union between a man and a woman with the only purpose being procreation” were unconstitutional.
Same-sex marriages are currently legal in Mexico City, Campeche, Jalisco, Coahuila, Quintana Roo, Colima, Nayarit and Chihuahua.