Thursday, October 14, 2010

Equality California stands up for marriage equality in Mexico

Photo: Geoff Kors, Executive Director of Equality California, at a global LGBT justice conference hosted by the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on March of 2009 (courtesy of yours truly).
Back in March, Equality California, the largest LGBT rights organization in California, released a statement congratulating the first same-sex couples who took advantage of Latin America's first marriage equality law and decided to get hitched.

That - in some ways - was easy for Equality California to do. It came after the fact, it sounded really pretty, and it probably endeared Equality California to many a Latino guy or gal who read about it.

Then came a local 18-1 vote to ban recognition of same-sex marriages in Baja California in late September.  I wrote about it earlier this month and shared some video of the proceedings...

On the surface, the vote was a slap against the Mexican Supreme Court which ruled in August that all same-sex marriages conducted in Mexico City were constitutionally valid and had to be recognized across the nation as such. In fact, if the Baja California vote becomes law, it will probably head to the top jury of the land  - and probably declared unconstitutional.

In the meantime, though, the Baja California vote has to be ratified by 3 of the 5 municipalities represented by the regional deputies who voted to slam marriage equality and that has yet to take place.

Rex Wockner, who has been doing an amazing job following the story, writes:
Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors has joined calls for municipal councils in Mexico's Baja California state to reject a state constitutional amendment that seemingly bans recognition of same-sex marriages.

Meanwhile, local LGBT activists are organizing marches on Oct. 16 in the U.S. border city of Mexicali, the Baja state capital, and on Oct. 24 in the border city of Tecate
As for Equality California, here is the statement provided by their Executive Director, Geoff Kors, to Rex:
It is extremely disappointing that there is an effort to amend the state constitution to not allow or recognize same-sex marriages in Baja California. Mexico's Supreme Court has upheld marriage for same-sex couples and further required that legal same-sex marriages from Mexico City be recognized throughout the nation. We call on the municipal councils in Ensenada, Mexicali, Rosarito Beach, Tecate and Tijuana to reject this discriminatory effort by voting against ratification of the constitutional amendment -- and to go on the record in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples.
It might have been easy to send out a congratulatory message to same-sex couples in Mexico City back in March, but to step in and proactively state an opinion in light of imminent passage of a homophobic piece of legislation in one of the states in Mexico is unparalleled for a major LGBT rights organization in the United States.

For that, I applaud Geoff Kors and Equality California and say 'thank you'.


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