Thu, Dec 31, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Mexico City enacts region’s first law for gay marriage

AP , MEXICO CITY

Mexico City enacted Latin America’s first law recognizing gay marriage on Tuesday and said it hopes to attract same-sex couples from around the world to wed.

The law, approved by city legislators on Dec. 21, was published in Mexico City’s official register on Tuesday and will take effect in March. It will allow same-sex couples to adopt children and municipal officials say it will make Mexico’s capital a “vanguard city” — and attract extra tourism revenues.

“Mexico City will become a center, where [gay] people from all over the world will be able to come and have their wedding, and then spend their honeymoon here,” said Alejandro Rojas, the city tourism secretary.

“We are already in talks with some travel agencies that are planning to offer package tours that include flights, hotels, guides, and everything they need for the wedding, like banquets,” Rojas said. “We are going to become a city on a par with Venice or San Francisco” — the current leader in the gay travel market segment.

The annual economic impact of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers is about US$70 billion in the US alone, according to Community Marketing Inc, a tourism research company that specializes in gay and lesbian consumers.

Gay marriages of foreigners in Mexico City would presumably only be recognized by countries and states that also have legalized same-sex marriage. An exception is New York State, which doesn’t allow same-sex marriages but which recognizes those which were performed legally in other jurisdictions.

An Argentine couple participated in Latin America’s first gay wedding on Monday, but interpretations vary on whether the law allows such unions in Argentina, and the question is now before its supreme court.

Argentina’s Constitution is silent on whether marriage must be between a man and a woman, effectively leaving the matter to provincial officials, who approved Monday’s wedding. But a law specifically legalizing gay marriage has been stalled in its Congress since October.

But even as Mexico City officials celebrated enactment of the law, others vowed to stop the marriages from taking place.

In a Sunday Mass, Roman Catholic Cardinal Norberto Rivera said “the essence of the family is being attacked by making homosexual unions equivalent to matrimony between a man and a woman.”

Armando Martinez, the president of a local Catholic lawyers’ group, said he was planning demonstrations against same-sex marriages, and will also support legal efforts to overturn the Mexico City law.

“We are going to carry out exhaustive campaigns at the offices of the justices of the peace in the city, using acts of peaceful civil resistance to prevent homosexual couples from being married,” Martinez said.

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