Sunday, February 25, 2007

New Irritant in US-Mexico Relationship

Will the US be forced to recognize gay marriages in Mexico?

This week, María Carreón and Amparo Maldonaldo, two US residents, hopped across the border to do what their home state of Texas did not permit: formalise their five-year lesbian relationship before the law.

For just 1,000 pesos ($91, €69, £47) and another 1,500 pesos for the public notary’s office, the two now enjoy legal rights and obligations similar to those of married heterosexual couples.

“The ceremony establishes the obligation of each member of the union to contribute everyday living expenses, the concept of inheritance and even alimony in case of subsequent separation,” says Armando Luna, sub-secretary of legal affairs in the government of Coahuila, the first of Mexico’s 31 states to pass such a liberal law...

The new law was passed in January, making Coahuila state one of the few places in Latin America where a legal union between people of the same sex is permitted. Buenos Aires and Rio Grande do Sul, a Brazilian state, have similar laws. Next month, Mexico City will follow suit.

Mr Luna was not sure whether the union would carry legal weight for US citizens returning to their country. But he said: “Conventional marriage and other civil acts in Mexico such as registering the birth of children are recognised under US law so it would stand to reason that this would be too.”

He also preferred not to speculate on whether the law would produce an avalanche of tourism...

In the unlikely event that such unions were recognized, it would probably lead to a tremendous boon in Mexican tourism.

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