Institutionalizing Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina and Mexico: The Role of Federalism

  • Jordi Díez
Part of the Global Queer Politics book series (GQP)


The implementation of same-sex marriage in Argentina, enacted in 2010, did not encounter any obstacles whereas in Mexico it has failed to become institutionalized even though it is now a constitutional right. This chapter explores these differences, arguing that the answer is found in political institutions and, specifically, in the types of federalism of the two countries. Both Argentina and Mexico possess institutional designs that divide power vertically along clearly demarcated federal systems of government. In Mexico, family law is enacted by sub-national jurisdictions through civil codes. In Argentina, family law is set by the country’s national civil code, which means that the approval of same-sex marriage simply required a change in the definition of marriage in that legislation. In Mexico, on the other hand, the fragmentation of family law through its federalism has resulted in the judicialization of the process, making same-sex marriage more difficult to implement or institutionalize.


Same-sex marriage Argentina Mexico Institutions Federalism Gay and lesbian activism 


  1. Álvarez, Sonia. 1999. Advocating Feminism: The Latin American Feminist Boom. International Feminist Journal of Politics 1 (2): 181–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bazán, Osvaldo. 2010. Historia de la homosexualidad en la Argentina. Buenos Aires: Editorial Marea.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, Stephen. 2002. ‘Con discriminación y represión no hay democracia’: The Lesbian and Gay Movement in Argentina. Latin American Perspectives 29 (2): 119–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calvo, Ernesto. 2014. Legislator Success in Fragmented Congresses in Argentina: Plurality Cartels, Minority Presidents, and Lawmaking. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corrales, Javier. 2015. The Politics of LGBT Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean: Research Agendas. European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 100: 53–62.Google Scholar
  6. Díez, Jordi. 2011. Argentina: A Queer Tango between the LG Movement and the State. In The Lesbian and Gay Movement and the State: Comparative Insights into a Transformed Relationship, ed. Carol Johnson, David Paternotte, and Manon Trembaly, 13–25. Surrey: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 2013. Explaining Policy Outcomes: The Adoption of Same-Sex Unions in Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Comparative Political Studies 46 (2): 212–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. ———. 2015. The Politics of Gay Marriage in Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. El Universal. Various Issues. Mexico City: Mexico.Google Scholar
  10. Encarnación, Omar. 2016. Out on the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Franceschet, Susan, and Jordi Díez. 2012. Thinking about Politics and Policymaking in Contemporary Latin America. In Comparative Public Policy in Latin America, ed. Jordi Díez and Susan Franceschet, 3–33. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hiller, Renata. 2010. Reflexiones en torno a la Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario. In Matrimonio Igualitario: Perspectivas sociales, políticas y jurídicas, ed. Renata Hiller, Rafael de la Dehesa, Ernesto Meccia, and Mario Pecheny, 85–130. Buenos Aires: Eudeba.Google Scholar
  13. Koning, Edward. 2015. The Three Institutionalisms and Institutional Dynamics: Understanding Endogenous and Exogenous Change. Journal of Public Policy, first published online July 20.Google Scholar
  14. La Jornada. September 19, 2016. Mexico City: Mexico.Google Scholar
  15. La Nación. August 3, 2010. Mexico City: Mexico.Google Scholar
  16. Madrazo, Alejandro, and Estefanía Vela. 2011. The Mexican Supreme Court’s (Sexual) Revolution? Texas Law Review 89(7). México, DF: CIDE.Google Scholar
  17. Marsiaj, Juan P. 2012. Federalism, Advocacy Networks, and Sexual Diversity Politics in Brazil. In Comparative Public Policy in Latin America, ed. Jordi Díez and Susan Franceschet, 126–149. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  18. Milenio. January 28, 2010. Mexico City: Mexico.Google Scholar
  19. O’Donnell, Guillermo. 1994. Delegative Democracy. Kellog Institute of International Studies, Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1996. Illusions about Consolidation. Journal of Democracy 7: 34–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Piscopo, Jennifer M. 2014. Female Leadership and Sexual Health Policy in Argentina. Comparative Political Studies 47 (1): 86–111.Google Scholar
  22. Piscopo, Jennifer M., and Susan Franceschet. 2013. Federalism, Decentralization, and Reproductive Rights in Argentina and Chile. Publius: The Journal of Federalism 43 (1): 129–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Proceso. Various Issues. Mexico City: Mexico.Google Scholar
  24. Schulenberg, Shawn. 2012. The Construction and Enactment of Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina. Journal of Human Rights 11 (1): 106–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Smith, Miriam. 2008. Political Institutions and Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United States and Canada. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Smulovitz, Catalina. 2012. Public Policy by Other Means: Playing the Judicial Arena. In Comparative Public Policy in Latin America, ed. Jordi Díez and Susan Franceschet, 105–125. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  27. Teichman, Judith. 2012. The New Institutionalism and Industrial Policy-Making in Chile. In Comparative Public Policy in Latin America, ed. Jordi Díez and Susan Franceschet, 54–77. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordi Díez
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GuelphGuelphCanada

Personalised recommendations