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Baja California Celebrates First Same-Sex Marriage, Despite Earlier Claims of 'Insanity' Against Couple

A week ago, local officials in Mexicali said the couple known as "the Victors" were too "crazy" to get married. Now, the doors are open in Baja's other major city, Tijuana, for same-sex couples to wed.

by Andrea Noel
Jan 20 2015, 12:55am

Photo by Alex Cossio/AP

A week after local officials in the city of Mexicali, Mexico, declared a gay couple too "insane" to marry, the two men, Victor Aguirre and Victor Urias, were wed Saturday in an impromptu ceremony shortly after noon outside Mexicali's city hall.

The ceremony took place before a horde of supporters and members of the press, ending a year-and-a-half-long legal battle that the couple, known as "the Victors," undertook to become the first same-sex marriage in the state of Baja California.

After a series of official excuses — ranging from allegations of insanity to extraordinary demands that the couple present HIV exam results — the city seemed to have exhausted every recourse to impede the wedding after the couple's four previous attempts. The couple even had the support of a Mexican Supreme Court decision in their favor.

Male couple told they're 'insane,' can't wed in Baja California, Mexico. Read more here.

The couple arrived at Mexicali's city hall Saturday not expecting to get married, but to stage a gay rights rally with their friends and supporters.

Shortly after they arrived, "the Victors" were informed by a mayoral aide that they would finally be allowed to formalize their union before the city. They decided to carry out the ceremony right then and there.

"We have managed, finally, to get our society sensitized to this issue," Urias told VICE News.

The marriage was finalized one day after the couple's lawyer announced he would be filing discrimination charges against Mexicali mayor Jaime Diaz Ochoa. "We will submit a complaint to the federal courts," the couple's lawyer, Jose Luis Marquez, told VICE News on Friday. "If they find that the wedding was not held because of discrimination, then we have a case."

Last Tuesday, the pair visited the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico City and spoke before a Mexican Senate committee to voice their concerns over the discrimination they had experienced in their city.

"We have been victimized by the municipal authorities and the civil registrar of Mexicali, Baja California," Urias said last week in Mexico City. "It is embarrassing that we had to leave our state to seek justice."

This successful union opens the door for others who wish to do the same in the border state. There are at least 13 other same-sex couples who have also sought to wed in Baja California, reports said.

Mexico's injustices and bloodshed are just not on the White House radar. Read more here.

Besides the Mexican capital, which voted to allow same-sex marriage in 2009, there are currently only three Mexican states that allow equal marriage rights for same-sex couples — Coahuila, Quintana Roo, and Jalisco — although other states made strides on the issue over the weekend.

The state of Querétaro, where the local definition of marriage continues to be exclusionary, also saw its first male same-sex wedding on Saturday. Similarly, the Querétaro wedding came as a result of a complicated legal battle. 

In response to Mexicali's decision to allow the first same-sex marriage, the mayor of Baja border city Tijuana, Jorge Astiazarán, announced that couples looking to pursue a marriage license in his city will be welcome to do so.

"In Tijuana there is no discrimination," Astiazarán said on Saturday. "In Tijuana, there is an opening for everyone."

As elections approach, Mexico is handing out free digital TVs to millions of voters. Read more here.

Follow Andrea Noel on Twitter @MetabolizedJunk.

Tagged:
Politics
VICE News
mexico
Tijuana
Mexicali
same-sex marriage
Baja California
gay marriage
victor aguirre
victor urias
jaime diaz ochoa
jorge astiazaran
los victors