Mexico's first gay couples wed under landmark law

Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:21pm EST
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By Michael O'Boyle

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Five same-sex couples wed in Mexico on Thursday as Mexico City became the first Latin American city to defy religious taboos and macho stereotypes by legalizing gay marriage.

The head of Mexico City's civil registry married four couples in a simple ceremony on the patio of a colonial city hall to cheers and applause from family, friends and local politicians. A fifth couple arrived late for the event -- but were quickly married afterward.

The Mexico City law marks a victory for gay rights in Latin America after a string of advances in the region. Argentina and Uruguay allow same-sex unions, and Uruguay includes adoption rights, but the only previous gay wedding was conducted by an activist governor in Argentina without legal backing.

"From here to the party and to be happy," said David Gonzalez, wearing a red rose in his lapel. He has been with his new husband, Jaime Lopez, for the past decade.

The couples, who handed in their papers to get married as soon as the law took effect last week, are all activists pushing for gay rights in Mexico, which has the second-biggest Catholic population after Brazil and a largely conservative culture.

The legislature in the liberal bastion of Mexico City, which is dominated by the nation's biggest left-leaning party, passed gay marriage. But the law applies only in the capital district.

"We are putting a face on a reality that has been denied, silenced and hidden," said Lol Kin Castaneda, 33, an academic marrying her partner of more than six years, Judith Vazquez.

Gay marriage is the latest push by Mexico City's left-wing government, which has also made divorce easier, legalized early abortions and allowed the terminally ill to refuse treatment.   Continued...

<p>Four same-sex couples celebrate after getting married at the town hall in Mexico City in this March 11, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar</p>