First gay couple unite in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY – An economist and a journalist became the first couple united under Mexico City’s new gay civil union law, kissing while an orchestra played “Besame Mucho” and police cordoned off streets around a white wedding tent filled with guests.The new law, which took effect on Friday, grants same-sex couples inheritance rights and social benefits similar to those enjoyed by married heterosexual couples. It reflects a growing acceptance of homosexuality in what has traditionally been a macho society, as well as a willingness by Mexico City – the second municipality in the country to legalize same-sex unions – to join the international debate on gay marriage.After dating for four years and three months, journalist Antonio Medina, 38, and economist Jorge Cerpa, 31 were united in front of the government offices for Mexico City’s Iztapalapa borough, signing documents under a banner that read “Civil Union Law: Your right to choose.”Dozens of supporters, including several couples who plan to register their own same-sex unions soon, waved rainbow flags, showered the couple with flower petals and yelled “Bravo!” Firecrackers exploded nearby.”With this law, a history of exclusion comes to an end,” Medina said. “Today, the love that before did not dare speak its name has now entered the public spotlight.”The left-dominated legislature of Mexico City, a semi-independent zone with some of the same powers as states, passed the law in November.The capital was the first in the predominantly Roman Catholic country to approve such a law. A similar measure went into effect in January in the northern state of Coahuila and a lesbian couple registered their union shortly thereafter.Coahuila state lawmakers from the conservative party of President Felipe Calderon have filed a court challenge claiming that gay unions violate constitutional provisions protecting the family.The Catholic Church in Mexico also has spoken out forcefully against the law.
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