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By Roberto Ortiz de Montellano

The concept of a family has evolved worldwide and Mexico is no exception to this. Gay marriage is now recognized and performed all over our territory. However, we still face some rejection and reluctance. Some states like Yucatán and Sonora, still refuse to marry same-sex couples, even though they are required by law to do so. In these cases, an injunction or amparo must be obtained so that a judge orders the officer of the Civil Registry to perform the same-sex wedding. This reluctance has also affected the rights of gay couples here in Mexico to adopt a child and form a family. Many states still refuse to recognize this right to same-sex couples. However, our Mexican Supreme Court issued a ruling on January of 2017, recognizing all over the country the right of same-sex couples to adopt a child.

Roberto Ortiz de Montellano
Roberto Ortiz de Montellano

So can a same-sex couple adopt a child in Puerto Vallarta?

The legislators of the State of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located, still refuse to recognize in the state laws, the right of same-sex couples to adopt a child. However, due to the ruling from our Federal Supreme Court, the state government authorities that deal with adoptions must process an application from a same-sex couple if the applicants file an injunction or amparo for this proceeding. Once an injunction is filed and the application is submitted, the government authorities from the State of Jalisco that deal with this matter, must process the request in the same terms that any other heterosexual couple. You should know however that the neighboring state of Nayarit, fully recognizes adoption by same-sex couples and therefore if the papers for adoption are filed in that state, there won’t be any need for the injunction (amparo).

And what about adoption by non-Mexican citizens that live here in Mexico or abroad?

If the couple intending to adopt are non-Mexican citizens but are residents of Mexico, the process will take place like with any Mexican national. The papers must be filed before the state government office here in Vallarta that deals with adoption called Sistema para el Desarrollo Integral de la Familia or DIF. This office will review the case and issue a certificate of eligibility stating that the couple is suitable to be adoptive parents. After that certificate is obtained, a proceeding in court must be followed so that a Judge grants legally the adoption. In case of non-Mexican citizens who are not residents of Mexico, the adoption would be considered an international adoption and the proceeding must be started in their home country, where the must obtain the certificate of eligibility from the competent authority, and then finish the proceeding here in Mexico before a Mexican judge.

In Mexico, a large segment of our society still opposes adoption by same-sex couples. Luckily for us, most of our jurists recognize the right to form a family as a human right. Same-sex couples have been granted that right and there is no way to debate that. The conservative way of thinking of our society still has to catch up with our changing laws. That is still to be seen, but in the meantime, adoption by same-sex couples is a fact in our country and this is something to be proud and joyful. By the way, happy Vallarta Pride!

Mr. Ortiz de Montellano is an attorney based in Puerto Vallarta, and is fully bilingual (English and Spanish) and is a member of the Mexican Bar Association and the Mexican Association of Corporate Attorneys. You can read more about him here.

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