Gay Marriage Puts Mexico City At Center Of Debate (From The New York Times)

February 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Entertainment

By ELISABETH MALKIN- An article from The New York Times

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MEXICO CITY — Angela Alfarache and Ivonne Cervantes met at a party 16 years ago and have been a couple ever since, filling their lives with books and writing and friends. After their daughter, Constanza, was born six years ago, they became a family.

Mexican law never saw it that way. Only Constanza’s biological mother — the pair will not say which one gave birth to her because, as they explain, they are both her mothers — is her legal parent. The law does not recognize the other mother.

In a few weeks, that will change. A new Mexico City law goes into effect March 4 that will allow same-sex couples to marry and adopt children, propelling the city to the forefront of the global gay rights movement.

“We want society to change its chip that says there is only one kind of family,” said Ms. Alfarache.

But fierce opposition erupted almost as soon as the law was passed on Dec. 22. In his final homily of the year in Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera said, “Today the family is under attack in its essence by the equivalence of homosexual unions with marriage between a man and a woman.” Roman Catholic groups asked the conservative federal government to intervene.

President Felipe Calderón said the Constitution defined marriage as between a man and a woman, although legal experts disagree. His attorney general filed a challenge before the Supreme Court, arguing that the law violates a constitutional clause protecting the family.

Under its left-wing mayor and city assembly, Mexico City has stretched the nation’s limits in acknowledging just how much the conceptions and realities of family have changed here. The city legalized abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, untangled its cumbersome divorce laws and recognized civil unions.

But while many families have been fractured by migration, teenage pregnancy, divorce and abandonment, most Mexicans still cherish the ideal of a nuclear family.

More on this article The New York Times

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