[Marxism] MEXICO: Civil Unions for Gays Soon a Reality in the Capital (IPS)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 12 15:30:43 MST 2006

(Mexico City's government is lead by members of the Party of the
Democratic Revolution. The previous mayor was Andres Manuel Lopez
Obrador, whose election to Mexico's Presidency was stolen in July.)

Civil Unions for Gays Soon a Reality in the Capital
Diego Cevallos


MEXICO CITY, Nov 10 (IPS) - Same-sex couples in Mexico's capital city
are only a step away from receiving legal recognition, after the
local legislature approved a law that conservative groups consider to
be "sinful," and that they say they will challenge in the courts.

After five years of acrimonious debate, on Friday the Mexico City
legislative assembly, dominated by the leftwing Party of the
Democratic Revolution (PRD), approved the Cohabiting Partnerships
law. Its entry into force now depends only on the mayor, Alejandro
Encinas, whose approval of the bill is considered to be imminent.

The new law grants legal status to same-sex unions, as already exists
in a number of cities and countries around the world.

Between 1989 and 2002, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden
approved laws giving equal rights to same-sex couples as married
couples. Later, similar laws came into effect in France, Germany,
Britain, Luxemburg and Switzerland.

Homosexual unions are also legally recognised in the City of Buenos
Aires and the southern province of Río Negro, in Argentina, and a
similar measure is being studied by the Uruguayan parliament.

The first to take the further step of legalising marriages of
same-sex couples were Belgium and the Netherlands, followed by
Canada, Spain and the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts.

But unlike such countries as the Netherlands and Spain, the law in
Mexico City does not permit same-sex couples to adopt children.

"This law acknowledges a reality that can no longer be hidden, and
that demands protection and regulation, setting aside the prejudices
of a conservative sector of society," activist Arturo Díaz, a member
of the National Council to Prevent and Eradicate Discrimination, made
up of citizens and local authorities, told IPS.

"It's a first step forward, and our view is that it legalises the
rights of so-called sexual minorities, and also those of other forms
of cohabitation that weren't previously protected," said Díaz, who
also belongs to the non-governmental Citizen's Commission Against
Homophobic Hate Crimes.

The new law, which was blocked in 2003 by the then mayor of Mexico
City, leftwing former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López
Obrador, who argued that it deserved wider social consultation,
grants legal recognition to cohabiting couples regardless of their
sexual preferences.

It establishes rights of inheritance, mutual obligations of economic
support, and the opportunity to take out joint health and life
insurance policies.

Conservatives have expressed vociferous outrage at the approval of
the law.

Representatives of the Roman Catholic and evangelical churches have
protested that the law grants rights to "unnatural unions," while
legislators belonging to the conservative governing National Action
Party argue that it violates legal precepts guaranteeing marriage and
family cohesion.

Both sectors said they would challenge the law before the courts.

The capital city's Legislative Assembly was the scene of open
confrontation Thursday. While the draft law was being debated,
conservative and religious groups exchanged insults and shouts with
gays and lesbians outside the building.

Some carried placards reading "For the honour of normal families, no
to the gay law!", while others wore pink, waved rainbow flags and
placards with the words "There can be no political freedom without
sexual freedom" and "In bed I'm my own boss".

The law was first presented to the assembly in 2001. But although it
was approved in 2003 by Mexico City legislators, it was blocked by
López Obrador's refusal to promulgate it.

The mayor of the city, López Obrador's successor after he left the
post in 2005 in order to campaign for the presidency, said this
Friday that the new law is perfectly legitimate, having been approved
by a majority which included the PRD and other parties such as
Alternative, Convergence, the Workers Party and New Alliance.

However, he said he would consult the local anti-discrimination
council about the law.

"The city government is trying to take care of its political image,
but it will doubtless enact the new law, although we must add that we
are against opening it up to consultation, because human rights are
not to be discussed but to be granted," said Díaz..

In his view, the new law will be a shield against the abuses to which
homosexuals are subjected.

The Citizen's Commission Against Homophobic Hate Crimes reports that
an average of 99 gay-bashing murders a year are committed in Mexico,
34 of them in the capital.

A survey carried out in 2005 by the ministry of Social Development
and the National Council to Prevent Discrimination found that 94.7
percent of interviewees belonging to "sexual minorities" said that
they felt discriminated against in Mexico.

Studies indicate that between five and 10 million of Mexico's 103
million people have homosexual or bisexual preferences.

In May and June 2005, the Vicente Fox administration carried out a
media campaign with messages aimed at promoting acceptance and
respect for sexual diversity.

"Equality begins when we recognise that we all have the right to be
different", and "For an influential, tolerant and plural Mexico",
were two of the slogans used in the campaign, which was harshly
criticised by the Catholic Church leadership and conservative groups,
in whose view some of the messages broadcast promoted homosexuality.

A government study last year, for which 1,482 people belonging to
different "minorities" were interviewed, found that 94.7 percent of
homosexuals in the interview sample, 94.4 percent of the disabled,
94.2 percent of women, 90.8 percent of indigenous people, 88.4
percent of elderly people and 80.4 percent of practising members of
religious minorities said they had suffered discrimination.

In the study, 71 percent of homosexual respondents said that
discrimination is the worst problem they face.

Furthermore, 54.5 percent said they felt rejected by society, 43
percent felt they had fewer study opportunities than heterosexuals,
and 72 percent said they had difficulty finding work because they
have different sexual preferences.

Nearly 45 percent of those interviewed also said that their families
had tried to force them to desist from their sexual preference.


(ZENIT is the news service of the Vatican.)


Mexico City OKs Homosexual Civil Unions
Bishops Speak Out for Traditional Marriage

MEXICO CITY, NOV. 12, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Mexico City has become the
second city in Latin America, after Buenos Aires, to legally
recognize homosexual civil unions.

By a 43-17 vote last Thursday, the city's lawmakers approved the
legislation, which allows same-sex couples to register their union
with civil authorities, granting them inheritance rights and other
benefits typically given to spouses.

Heterosexual couples who are not legally married can also be
registered under the bill.

The previous day, the Mexican bishops' conference issued a communiqué
warning of the dangers of the new norm.

"The Church has always been respectful of natural law, because it is
in man's nature itself that his fulfillment is found and not just in
positive laws," states the prelates' text. "The human body itself
expresses the fundamental and complementary difference between man
and woman. ?

The bishops point out that "when the value of the family is
threatened by social and economic pressures, the Church will react,
reaffirming that marriage between a man and a woman is necessary not
only for the private good of every person, but also for the common
good of the whole of society, the nation and the state."

This initiative of law, the Mexican bishops note, "seeks to
legitimize the relations of partners living together and in a veiled
way hopes to give origin to a legislation that foments mechanisms
that approve same-sex marriages, including the right to adopt
children, as nature does not make it possible for them to beget them
between themselves. A law such as this one only sees and seeks to
give incomplete and momentary solutions to a problem that is more
complex than it seems. ?

"We propose to the lawmakers that they legislate in favor of the
dignity of the human being and of the family, given that the family
is the true measure of the nation's greatness, in the same way that
the dignity of man is the authentic measure of civilization."

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