Mexican Supreme Court rebukes cardinal, says gay couples can adopt

By David Agren
Catholic News Service

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican Supreme Court upheld the legality of same-sex couples adopting children and rebuked Guadalajara Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, who accused the 11 judges of being bribed by the mayor of Mexico City and international organizations.

The court ruled Aug. 16 against a challenge by the federal attorney general’s office, which had contested a portion of a same-sex marriage law in Mexico City allowing homosexual couples to adopt children. Earlier in August, the judges ruled that the law as a whole was constitutional and that Mexico’s 31 states must recognize the legality of same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City.

In a rare move, the court rebuked Cardinal Sandoval before its Aug. 16 session.

"You cannot, with impunity, protected by any title, accuse 11 justices of the highest tribunal in the country of corruption and say that they have been financially motivated to pronounce in a certain way," said Justice Sergio Valls, who is identified as the leader of the court’s liberal wing. The court unanimously voted to censure the cardinal.

That same day, Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard demanded during a radio interview that the cardinal "show proof" or retract his remarks, and he threatened to take legal action.

Cardinal Sandoval told reporters Aug. 15 in the city of Aguascalientes: "I have no doubt (the judges) are bribed, of course, by Ebrard. They are bribed by international organizations.

"I believe they did not reach these conclusions, so absurd and so against the sentiment of the Mexican people, if not for very big motives, and the biggest of the motives could be the monies they’re giving them," he said.

The court decision and the church reaction threaten to worsen relations between the Archdiocese of Mexico City and the capital government. Mexico City previously ushered in laws permitting abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and loosening the rules governing euthanasia and divorce. The high court already has declared the abortion law constitutional.

Father Hugo Valdemar Romero, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, compared the social agenda in the capital to the ongoing drug-related conflicts that have claimed 28,000 lives over the past three-and-a-half years.

"(The mayor) and his government have created laws destructive to the family that do worse damage than drug cartels," Father Valdemar said in comments published Aug. 16 by the archdiocesan publication Desde la Fe.

"The court has fallen into excesses, intolerance and ignorance, which is an embarrassment and abuse to the country," he said.

The Catholic Church has been vocal in its opposition to Mexico City’s same-sex marriage law — which took effect March 4 — and joined with evangelical congregations and the country’s Greek Orthodox Church in a rare show of unity to fight the measure.

Much of the opposition centered on the provision allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.

It is not clear if other states will follow the Mexico City example and pass same-sex marriage laws. David Razu, sponsor of the same-sex marriage bill, told Catholic News Service that changing social values would spur changes over the coming decade.

"It’s a question of time — and sooner than people think," he said.


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