The Dispute for Equal Marriage in Mexico. a Longitudinal Field View

Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Carlos MARTINEZ, Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, Mexico
In Mexico we have an unfinished process on the recognition of the rights of same-sex couples. Nowadays equal marriage is legal in one-third of the states of the country. Given this gradual progress, last year the presidential initiative that would validate civil unions throughout the country was rejected by Congress of the Union under pressure of conservative groups.

The current state of affairs in equal marriage has had the intervention of different social, political and institutional actors in a trajectory of three lustrums. These actors have developed different processes of interaction and dispute in the public sphere and in the field of political decision making for the configuration of different institutional arrangements.

This paper is based on strategic action field theory (Fligstein and McAdam 2012) which is useful to understand processes of interaction and dispute among actors with different interests for the establishment of institutional social arrangements. Through the longitudinal analysis of speeches and performances (2001-2016) of organizations involved in the dispute processes, information is provided to analyze how the field operates and defines the rights of equal marriage.

This research identifies three episodes of opening and closing: (1) introduction of the rights agenda by the LGBT movement and the involvement of the ruling party in the country capital (2001-2009); (2) Supreme Court intervention, movements, and leftist parties in the entities making changes to expand rights (2010-2015); the most recent dispute, (3) where conservative groups succeed in blocking the presidential proposal of equal marriage (2016). Together these episodes of dispute and agreement allow us to explain the unfinished rights of same sex couples in Mexico and to glimpse the potential stagnation of the agenda in the coming years.