The bill passed the local assembly 39-20. Leftist Mayor Marcelo Ebrard of the Democratic Revolution Party was widely expected to sign the measure into law. The bill calls for changing the definition of marriage in the city's civil code. Marriage is currently defined as the union of a man and a woman. The new definition will be "the free uniting of two people." The change would allow same-sex couples to adopt children, apply for bank loans together, inherit wealth and be included in the insurance policies of their spouse, rights they were denied under civil unions allowed in the city.
Argentina's capital became the first Latin American city to legalize same-sex civil unions in 2002 for gay and lesbian couples. Four other Argentine cities later did the same, and as did Mexico City in 2007 and some Mexican and Brazilian states. Uruguay alone has legalized civil unions nationwide.
Says Mexican gay-rights activist Judith Vasquez: "Gay couples have effectively been together for years, decades, centuries. But now it is our right."
In Buenos Aires, legislators introduced a same-sex marriage bill in October but it has stalled without a vote. Authorities in the Argentine capitol recently blocked what would be the nation's first same-sex wedding because of conflicting judicial rulings.
The population of greater Mexico City is 21 million. It is the largest megapolis in the North America and third largest in the world. The decision by the Distrito Federal's Legislative Assembly means that gays and lesbians will soon be allowed to wed in all three of the North American capitals. Ottawa, the Canadian capital, has enjoyed marriage equality since 2003. Last week, the Washington D.C. City Council passed a marriage equality bill and Mayor Adrian Fenty signed it into law.