The Congress of the Mexican state of Puebla has overwhelmingly passed same-sex marriage.
It makes Puebla, a conservative state in east-central Mexico, the latest state in the country to legalize marriage equality.
It comes after Puebla fell under the control of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s lef wing National Regeneration Movement.
Lopez Obrador himself is cautious around social conservatives but the left-wing base of his party are more outspoken in support of LGBT+ rights.
Meanwhile the battle for same-sex marriage across Mexico continues.
Indeed, equality supporters in the state of Guerrero have said they will sue in the country’s Supreme Court after its state deputies failed to pass same-sex marriage.
Legal battle ahead
The fight for marriage equality is due to come again to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation next year in any case.
The court effectively made equal marriage legal back in 2015. It ruled then that state laws that restrict marriage only to heterosexual couples are discriminatory.
However Mexico’s Constitution doesn’t allow the court to change the state laws straight away. That’s allowed a mixed picture where same-sex couples can marry easily in some states but need to follow a long legal process to force the issue in others.
The court’s inability to enforce its decisions has created a long battle for marriage equality in Mexico.
Mexico has 31 states, plus Mexico City, the capital. Of these, the majority have passed marriage equality legislation or have it in practice, with Puebla the latest to join that list.
However, same-sex couples can still apply to marry in the remaining states. To do so, they have to apply to a federal judge. It takes time and they need to pay a lawyer, but the judge can’t refuse.
Moreover, if couples do this five times, that sets a precedent. At that point, the state’s marriage equality ban ends.
Complicating the picture further, Mexico is also under the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. It ruled in favor of marriage equality in 2015. And its ruling is binding on all member countries.
That ruling has already contributed to same-sex marriage becoming law in Ecuador last year and Costa Rica in May this year. However, it still hasn’t forced Mexico to act.