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Gay couples marry in Mexico City

March 12, 2010 | 12:20 pm

Gaymarriageafp

The first same-sex marriages got underway Thursday in Mexico City, and "the city put on quite a show" for the historic weddings, reports Tracy Wilkinson in The Times:

The ceremony took place in the columned courtyard of the 300-year-old Municipal Palace, on a stage festooned with white lilies and a larger-than-life bust of Benito Juarez. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard attended, applauding warmly and hugging all of the newlyweds, as did the heads of the city's legislature and highest court.

Five couples were married, including the first lesbian couple to wed in Latin America, Lol Kin Castaneda and Judith Vasquez. Elsewhere, two male couples have wed in Argentina since December. The events have been called milestones for gay rights in Latin America, where the Roman Catholic Church and the culture of machismo remain strong social forces in everyday life -- particularly so in Mexico.

Yet the law approved in December by Mexico City's legislative assembly is one of the most liberal and far-reaching to emerge anywhere. Same-sex couples within the Federal District who marry may also now adopt children. President Felipe Calderon and his conservative National Action Party have attempted to challenge the law, and anti-gay marriage demonstrators were present at Thursday's ceremony.

From The Times:

Outside the Municipal Palace on the edge of downtown's vast Zocolo plaza, several dozen demonstrators in green T-shirts waved signs proclaiming marriage as the union of man and woman. "Don't get confused!" the signs said.

"Can you imagine if two fathers take a kid to kindergarten, how all the other kids are going to react?" asked Carlos Osorio, a 29-year-old actor in charge of the protest. "Mexican society is not capable of accepting this."

It's worth keeping in mind that Mexico City is a gargantuan anomaly in comparison with the rest of the country. The Federal District has been governed by the center-left Democratic Revolution Party uninterrupted since 1997. "Mexico City is home to the most visible gay community in Mexico and couples freely express affection in many parts of the city," notes Reuters. "However, outside the capital discrimination and even violence against homosexuals is common, activists say."

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Mexico City's first same-sex married couples celebrate after their wedding ceremony. Credit: AFP

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