Lesbian Texas duo register in Ciudad Acuna civil union
Copyright by The Associated Press
Feb. 19, 2007, 10:05PM
PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — A lesbian couple from Texas became the first international visitors to take advantage of Coahuila state's new civil union law when they registered their union today in Ciudad Acuna, across the border from Del Rio, Texas.
Maria Carreon Lara, 39, and Amparo Maldonado, 24, of Midland, Texas, registered as a "civil solidarity union" under a law that went into effect in January making Coahuila the first of Mexico's 31 states to grant recognition to such unions.
The Coahuila law allows nonresidents to register under the law as long as they are in the state legally. It is not clear if the Mexican union would have any legal standing in the United States.
The couple had been living together for five years, local media reported, and decided to register when they heard about the state's civil union law. They did not declare joint property at the ceremony in the Civil Registry office in Ciudad Acuna.
The law is not designed to imitate a formal marriage contract, but does provide gay couples with numerous social benefits similar to those of married couples.
On Jan. 31, the first civil union in Mexico was registered in Coahuila between a lesbian couple from the northern Mexico state of Tamaulipas.
In November, Mexico City — which as a semi-independent capital zone has some of the same powers as states — passed a similar measure, the first in the nation's history, but that law will not go into effect until mid-March.
While homosexuality still is taboo in many rural parts of Latin America, the region's urban areas are becoming more socially liberal. Mexico City and Coahuila join the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires and the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul in legalizing same-sex civil unions.
At the national level, lawmakers in Costa Rica and Colombia have debated, but not passed, similar measures.