This is a big week for marriage equality in North America. First, same-sex couples can now start applying for marriage licenses in Washington DC:
D.C. Superior Court began accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples Wednesday morning, a historic milestone for gay couples and activists that was made possible by the city’s new gay marriage law.
About 45 couples with their coffee, newspapers and blackberries — many dressed in blazers and slacks as they planned to go to work after filing an application — were waiting in line when the court’s marriage bureau opened its doors at 8:30 a.m. Employees allowed 10 couples to enter at a time, and had extra personnel on hand to accept the applications.
Licenses take up to three days to process, so early next week will see the first same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia.
This follows a barrage of attempts by opponents to stop the marriage equality law passed by the DC Council in December by any means possible. Local anti-equality activist Bishop Harry Jackson had attempted to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States after the DC Court of Appeals declined to intervene, arguing that District residents deserved the opportunity to vote on marriage equality before it took effect. His effort failed.
And in Mexico City, a marriage equality law will takes effect today, after being passed in December of last year by the city’s leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD)-dominated government.
The Catholic Church has been, predictably, up in arms,
as is the right-wing National Action Party (PAN), the party of Mexico’s president Felipe Calderón::
“The family is under attack,” warned Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera, saying that the “perverse” measure would inflict psychological damage on “innocent children.”
“Marriage, as it was originally conceived, as a union between a man and a woman, guarantees the future of the state and of Mexican society,” Mariana Gómez del Campo, PAN’s leader in Mexico City, told a radio interviewer.
But opinion polls on the subject show widespread support among resident’s of Mexico’s capital city:
An opinion poll by El Universal newspaper in November found that 50 percent of Mexico City respondents accepted gay marriage and 38 percent opposed it. Residents ages 18 to 39 were more likely to be supporters.
Marriage equality is moving forward. While neither the United States nor Mexico currently have it on a national level, the symbolism of the national capitals of each nation enacting equality laws in the same week surely will not be lost on the world.