This morning, en route to work, I told my mother I was getting married and asked her if she’d travel to Mexico City and join me as we exchanged vows. “Yes! When do we leave?” she responded.
To her dismay, I told her I was kidding and was curious to hear how she would react. “I am too young,” I said. “Besides, I haven’t found the right man.” I was happy to hear that she was excited for me, and like any loving mother, she was already meticulously planning the celebration and trip destinations in her head. Marriage in our family isn’t just a civil contract between two people; marriage for us is a family affair.
For a gay Latino living in the U.S., full marriage equality in Mexico’s capital means more than just a potential wedding location. While Mexico City’s landmark law granting same-sex couples marriage and adoption rights went into effect yesterday, the true wedding-bell ring heard around the world, for many people of the Mexican Diaspora, was that same-sex couples would now be treated equally in our homeland.
Yesterday’s culminating event in the marriage rights saga began last December, when the Federal District’s Legislative Assembly (ALDF), the Mexico City’s governing body, approved the new marriage law which reformed the city’s civil code granting same-sex couples the right to apply for marriage licenses. The legal ramifications for same-sex couples here in the U.S. are particularly important.
Thanks to the passage of the Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act, a bill sponsored by Equality California, couples who now wed in Mexico City will be given all of the rights, protections and responsibilities of married spouses under California law, with the sole exception of the designation of “marriage.”
At yesterday’s evening reception held at Los Angeles Historic State Park “El Pueblo” and co-hosted by EQCA and Honor Fund, we toasted in celebration of Mexico City’s new marriage law and reflected on the legal limbo we now find ourselves in here in California. For many LGBT Latinos, it is ironic to have had to immigrate to the U.S. looking for equal rights and economic opportunities, yet seeing ourselves stripped from those rights in 2008 by a slim majority that supported Prop. 8.
Yet, despite the setbacks in our home state, we found solace and new motivation in knowing that the hard work and efforts of the LGBT community in Mexico City paid off. Last night, after finding inspiration from the LGBT community in Mexico, we renewed our own vows to restore full marriage rights for same-sex couples in California.
While my mother knows there is a lot of work I need to do on my part to find the right man, she hopes to one day celebrate and stand by my side during my wedding just like she was able to for my sister.