Note: “Same-sex” couples is society’s phrase for two people who were assigned the same gender at birth and have not changed their government-recognized gender. This term enforces a false binary of gender and does not reflect the full spectrum of LGBTQ+ identities, but in this article we will use the term as deployed by the governments discussed here, as well as international press coverage of marriage equality news.

On Valentine’s Day, nearly 1,000 couples wed in a mass ceremony in one of the last Mexican states to legalize same-sex marriage. The ceremony included 35 same-sex couples, including Sarai Vargas and her partner, Yazmin Acosta. “It’s an important date for us because we met on February 14,” Vargas tells Agence France-Presse. “We’re happy because same-sex marriage was approved just three months ago here in the State of Mexico, so we decided to marry this year.”

RELATED: More LGBTQ+ weddings in Mexico

Vargas and Acosta are among hundreds of LGBTQ+ couples across Mexico who can finally celebrate their marriages as legally recognized unions. In October 2022, the federal government declared legal marriage equality for same-sex couples, regardless of the state they live in. The decision came more than a decade after same-sex marriage was first legalized by the legislative assembly in Mexico City. The Supreme Court of Mexico ruled in 2015 that state laws prohibiting “non-heterosexual marriages” were unconstitutional, but some states took several years to implement and observe the ruling, the Associated Press reports.

As a hub for destination weddings and honeymoons, Mexico has long been the subject of attention for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States and beyond. While this ruling gives destination marriers and honeymooners more peace of mind, the relief for the LGBTQ+ community residing in Mexico is enormous.

In many suburban and rural parts of the nation, there remains anti-LGBTQ+ stigma, fueled largely by Catholicism and the ideological creep of Spanish colonization. On the flip side, Mexico’s larger cities, including Guadalajara and Mexico City, have active LGBTQ+ social scenes, hosting Pride parades and welcoming LGBTQ+ tourism. The legal recognition of same-sex marriage is an important step on the road to acceptance and safety for LGBTQ+ individuals across the country.

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Feature photo by Monstera Productions