Mexican states of Baja California and Sinaloa legalize same-sex marriage

With the historic decision, Baja California and Sinaloa joined the list of 20 states that recognize marriage between people of the same sex with the approval of a reform in the local Congress

June 19, 2021 by Tanya Wadhwa
In the past two days, two Mexican states, Baja California and Sinaloa, have legalized same-sex marriage. Photo:

This pride month has brought some joy and jubilation for the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico. Two Mexican states, Baja California and Sinaloa, have legalized same-sex marriage, dismantling discriminatory laws and amplifying recognition of the rights of gender diverse people.

On June 16, the Congress of the State of Baja California, with 18 votes in favor, 4 against and 1 abstention, approved the constitutional reforms and the changes in the Civil Code, which allows marriage between people of the same sex.

The initiative presented by legislator Julia Andrea González of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, sought modifications to articles 7 and 104 of the state constitution, which established that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. With the reform approved, marriage in Baja California will now be understood as the union between two people.

Since it is a constitutional reform, it will be presented to the five municipal councils for validation, who will have 30 days to approve or reject it. The approval of at least three councils is required. In the event that the councils do not meet, after 30 days the reform will be considered approved and it will be sent to the official newspaper for publication, after which it will enter into force.

This was the third time the reform was put to a vote in this congress. After failing on the first two occasions, it finally received the support of the majority of the legislators.

The reform was applauded by Miguel Angel Mora, the president of the State Commission for Human Rights of Baja California (CEDHBC). In a statement, Mora said that “with the elimination of legal impediments to the realization of equal marriages, a historic liability in the matter of human rights has been addressed.” He stressed that, “although marriages between people of the same sex were already possible in Baja California through various mechanisms, the vote on Wednesday in the plenary session of the XXIII Legislature is an advance in the recognition of the dignity of all people.”

The LGBTC social organization in a series of facebook posts celebrated the decision and thanked the legislators who voted to approve the right. “We did it. Today the reform of Baja California’s constitution and the civil code was approved to recognize that all people -without distinction of sex- have the right to marriage. Thus, Baja California becomes a fairer and more equal state, where discriminatory laws against LGBTQ people begin to be dismantled. With this reform, same-sex couples will be entitled to the same rights and obligations as all couples in the state. For the LGBTQ+ community of Baja California, this decision is a first step in restoring our dignity and legal certainty. A first step that was possible thanks to the courage and struggle of people who, for decades, have led this fight for this basic civil right,” said the organization in a statement.

Likewise, on June 15, the Congress of Sinaloa, with 23 votes in favor, zero against and 17 abstentions, unanimously approved the reforms to article 40 and 165 of the State Family Code and decriminalized marriage and cohabitation between people of the same sex.

The United Commissions of Constitutional Points and Governance, Human Rights Equity, Gender and Family of the legislature was in charge of preparing the equal marriage bill. 18 of the 23 legislators who voted in favor and enforced the rights to equality and non-discrimination established in article 1 of the political constitution of the United Mexican States, belong to the Morena party.

Now, the governor of Sinaloa Quirino Ordaz Coppel has a period of 60 days to officially enact the changes. After publication of the changes in the official newspaper, the bill will turn into law.

The right has been achieved in the state after seven years of struggle. The Sinaloa Diversity Committee pointed out that it presented four judicial actions and seven bills to three different legislatures during these years.

The legislator of Morena, Graciela Dominguez Nava, in the plenary session, recalled the long struggle that the members of the sexual diversity community undertook and celebrated its success.

“We voted today in favor of an equal and fair Sinaloa, where all people can fully exercise our rights. We said yes to equal marriage by the Court’s order, but also by conviction, convinced that love is love,” she wrote in a tweet.

Senator and founder of Morena, Bertha Caraveo, hailed the historic decisions promoted and achieved by her party. “Today, thanks to MORENA, equal marriage is already a reality in Sinaloa and Baja California. These are unprecedented times that recognize all rights for all people. Long live free love! Long live the Fourth Transformation!,” she wrote in a tweet.

With the recent progressive decision, Baja California and Sinaloa joined the list of 20 states that recognize same-sex marriage with the approval of a reform in the local Congress.

In November 2015, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared unconstitutional the state civil codes that prevent same-sex marriages, however, almost a third of the states have resisted reforming their law. In those states, in order to access the right, the couples have to file for legal protection.

The LGBTQ+ activists and organizations have stated that they will continue to fight until all the 32 states of Mexico authorize equal marriage.