In a groundbreaking vote, the Congress of the Mexican state of Yucatán has enacted a law legalizing equal marriage and prohibiting "conversion therapies." This momentous decision isn't just a cause for celebration in Yucatán; it's a significant milestone for the entire Latin American region!
Now marriage is defined as a “free and voluntary legal union of two persons with equal rights, duties, and obligations”.
The reforms will offer same-sex couples the same protections and benefits as married opposite-sex ones.
The answer is simple: the Yucatán Congress opposed it.
In 2009, Yucatecan deputies voted to ban same-sex marriage by a 24-1 vote.
In April and July 2019, they did it again, this time with 15-9 votes, but the Senate held votes on the two bills in secret. Their decision left citizens unaware of how their representatives voted - leading to a complaint before the Yucatán Supreme Court that ruled their attempt at legalizing it in secret unconstitutional. Court urged the state congress had to hold a public vote on same-sex marriage. This time, there was a positive outcome: 20 legislators voted in favor of same-sex marriage while 25 were opposed.
The LGBTQ community was thrilled to hear that Yucatán had legalized marriage equality and banned "conversion therapies". They hope this means more states would follow suit and "conversion therapies" will be banned across Mexico as well.
Deputy Silvia López Escoffié (Twitter/@silvialopeze)
“Almost three years of constant struggle went by, but the final result is for all Yucatán citizens who were discriminated against,” said Silvia López Escoffié, an independent deputy. “We’re very satisfied.”
Governor Mauricio Vila
Yucatán State Governor Mauricio Vila welcomed the decision on his Twitter account.
“The decision the Yucatán Congress took today is the fruit of our democracy, and that makes us stronger as a society,” he wrote. “I call on everyone to respect each other and work together. We are always stronger together.”
In its move, the Yucatán Congress also banned “conversion therapies.”
The ban carries a sentence of up to three years in prison for health care professionals, mental health professionals, and therapists who offer therapy aimed at “changing” someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
Therapists are prohibited from using psychological or medical treatment “to change” a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The new law will impose double punishment for people caught performing “conversion therapy” on minors.
Infographic by The Wilson Center
Slowly but surely, Mexico is advancing with the legalization of same-sex marriage. Although there’s vehement opposition from the Catholic church towards these legislations, it seems like they can’t stop their progress anytime soon! The number of people demanding their rights has increased significantly because LGBTQ awareness and advocacy have improved. 22 of Mexico’s 32 states have now legalized marriage for same-sex couples, including Baja California and Sinaloa that recently extended marriage rights to same-sex couples.
So happy that Yucatán has taken a step forward in equal rights! This is great news for those who fought to legalize same-sex marriage and ban conversion therapies. Let’s hope other Mexican states and Latin American countries follow suit as well!