World News Briefs
Published Thursday, 19-Aug-2010 in issue 1182
Mexico City gay marriages get nationwide recognition
Same-sex couples who get married in Mexico City, the only place in the nation where they can do so, are validly married everywhere in Mexico, in all 31 states, the Supreme Court ruled Aug. 10 in a 9-2 vote.
Technically, one has to live in Mexico City to marry there. In practice, the policy is not enforced consistently, if at all.
The court said that Article 121 of the federal constitution requires that a civil-registry act celebrated in one state or district be recognized nationally.
The Mexico City government’s website says that to marry in Mexico City, a couple must “be residents of the Federal District” and present the original and a copy of proof of domicile issued within the past three months. It does not say what qualifies as proof. News reports have mentioned things such as utility bills and have suggested that the requirement is not strictly enforced.
The same page of the website explains what is required for “foreigners” to marry in Mexico City. If only one of the individuals is foreign, he or she must present “authorization issued by the Secretary of Governance to marry.” But, “when both parties are foreigners, permission from the Secretary of Governance is not required.”
The website’s information seems at odds with media statements by Mexico City officials, who have said they hope gay couples will come from around the world to get married and that the city is working with travel agencies to offer packages that include flights, hotel, sightseeing, a wedding and a banquet.
The website of the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, under the heading “American Citizens Services - Marriage and Divorce in Mexico,” says: “You should contact the office of the Registro Civil in the jurisdiction where you plan to get married for complete information about the requirements. A marriage that is properly executed in Mexico is valid in the United States provided the marriage would be legal in the United States.”
An English-language Google search for “getting married in Mexico” produced tens of thousands of hits clearly aimed at nonresident foreigners.
Costa Rican Supremes block referendum on gay unions
Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ruled Aug. 10 that a voter referendum scheduled for Dec. 5 that could have banned same-sex unions was unconstitutional.
The court’s constitutional arm ruled 5-2 that marriage rights are a legislative issue, not a matter for voters, and that minority rights should not be subject to the referendum process.
The court said that people in same-sex relationships “form a group that is subject to disadvantages and discrimination, and require the support of public authorities to obtain their rights.”
Quebec Press Council denounces Olympics broadcasters
The Quebec Press Council has denounced two TV broadcasters who made fun of skater Johnny Weir during the Vancouver Olympics.
Sportscasters Alain Goldberg and Claude Mailhot said on air that Weir hurts figure skating’s image and should take a gender test or maybe compete in women’s events.
“They’ll think all the boys who skate will end up like him,” Goldberg said. “It sets a very bad example. ... We should make him pass a gender test at this point.”
The council’s ruling stated: “The council is aware that Mr. Mailhot and Mr. Goldberg diligently made on-air apologies following the incident. However, it cannot ignore the gravity of the error they have committed and therefore addresses the grievance. (The council) directs severe blame at Mr. Claude Mailhot and Mr. Alain Goldberg for having shown contempt, having harmed the dignity of the figure skater, Mr. Johnny Weir, and having made discriminatory remarks against him.”
The decision has no effect other than tarnishing the broadcasters’ images.
“We are happy ... to see that the QPC recognized the severity of the error,” said Steve Foster, president of the Quebec Council of Gays and Lesbians, which had filed a complaint with the QPC. “These radio announcers showed disrespect not only to the integrity of the athlete but also to the integrity of gays and heterosexuals that do not correspond to the social stereotypes of masculinity and femininity.”
Poll: Russians very homophobic
A new poll by Russia’s Center for Public Opinion Research has found almost universal opposition to gay people, GayRussia.ru reported Aug. 8.
The poll, conducted in late July, questioned 1,600 people in 130 cities and has a margin of error of 3.4 percent.
It found that 74 percent of Russians believe gays and lesbians are morally dissolute or mentally defective, while only 15 percent think they are normal.
Thirty-nine percent of those questioned believe that homosexuals should be forcibly treated for their condition or isolated from society, 24 percent think gays should be sent to psychologists, 25 percent think gays should be left in peace, and 4 percent think homosexuals should be eliminated.
On the matter of equal rights, the findings were better, with 45 percent of Russians saying gays and lesbians should have equal rights — unless the issue is marriage. Only 14 percent of those questioned support letting gay couples marry.
And unless the issue is freedom of assembly. Eighty-two percent of Russians object to gay pride parades. A whopping 8 percent support them.
The poll found that men, older people, poorer people and people with less education are more homophobic.
“The conclusion we can make from these results is that we only have more work ahead,” said Moscow Pride head Nikolai Alekseev. “The attitude of Russians towards gay prides (and) same-sex marriages cannot improve when officials are using the media to call for hatred towards the LGBT community.”
Assistance: Bill Kelley, tre magazine