Mexico City weds 1st gay couples under new civil union law

Anthony Cuesta | March 20, 2007

Mexico City united its first same-sex couples under its new civil union law that grants gay and lesbian partners social benefits similar to those extended to heterosexual partners.

According to Reuters, lawyer Alejandro Diaz, 27 and Rafael Ramirez, 31, also a lawyer, tied the knot in a short ceremony held in a city council building, the first since the city approved a law permitting civil unions in November.

In Iztapalapa, one of Mexico City's poorest neighborhoods, journalist Antonio Medina, 38, and economist Jorge Cerpa, 31 were united in front of government offices under a banner that read "Civil Union Law: Your right to choose," reports the Associated Press.

Throughout the day, around 10 gay couples exchanged vows in the city.

The new law took effect on Friday and grants same-sex couples inheritance rights and social benefits similar to those enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. It reflects a growing acceptance of homosexuality in what has traditionally been a macho society, as well as a willingness by Mexico City – the second municipality in the country to legalize same-sex unions – to join the international debate on gay marriage.

The AP reports that dozens of supporters, including several couples who plan to register their own same-sex unions soon, waved rainbow flags, showered the couple with flower petals and yelled "Bravo!"

"With this law, a history of exclusion comes to an end," the AP reports Medina saying. "Today, the love that before did not dare speak its name has now entered the public spotlight."

The capital was the first in the mostly Roman Catholic country to approve such a law. A similar measure went into effect in January in the northern state of Coahuila and a lesbian couple registered their union shortly thereafter.

The Catholic Church in Mexico also has spoken out forcefully against the law.

Medina said the church should not get involved in people's private lives.

"We respect people's beliefs but we believe the church should not climb into anybody's bed," he said, reports Reuters. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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Northern state of Coahuila, Mexico approves same-sex partnerships



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