Mexican gay rights groups voiced hope Thursday that a Supreme Court ruling against an Oaxaca state law that banned same-sex marriages will lead to similar decisions across the nation, AFP reports.
The court ruled Wednesday that the southern state's civil code -- which states that marriage is only between a man and a woman in order "to perpetuate the species" -- was unconstitutional.
"It is a very important victory and precedent," Alejandro Brito Lemus, of the gay rights organization Letra S, told AFP.
The ruling paves the way for same-sex couples to contest marriage laws in other states, he said, noting that legal action is planned in the central state of Mexico.
Several political parties in Oaxaca announced they would back legislation to make same-sex marriage legal in the state following the court ruling.
But getting laws changed in state legislatures will be difficult due to stiff opposition from conservative lawmakers close to the Catholic church, Brito said.
"It is going to be a long process that will have to follow the legislative and court paths at the same time," he added.
Only Mexico City allows same-sex marriage in the deeply Catholic country. Argentina is the only Latin American country to authorize such marriages, while Uruguay is considering a similar law.
The Oaxaca law was challenged by three same-sex couples.
In Mexico, the Supreme Court needs to make five similar rulings for its decisions to become a legal precedent. This means that the court needs to rule in favor of two more same-sex couples.
The ruling "sets a precedent in the path toward the establishment of equal marriage in the entire country," the National Discrimination Prevention Council said in a statement.