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      Male Couple Told They're 'Insane,' Can't Wed in Baja California, Mexico

      Male Couple Told They're 'Insane,' Can't Wed in Baja California, Mexico Male Couple Told They're 'Insane,' Can't Wed in Baja California, Mexico Male Couple Told They're 'Insane,' Can't Wed in Baja California, Mexico
      Photo courtesy of Gerardo Navarro

      Americas

      Male Couple Told They're 'Insane,' Can't Wed in Baja California, Mexico

      By Joey Muñoz

      The couple thought that they finally had everything lined up: Their paperwork for a marriage license, their attendance to mandatory counseling, and — just to be safe — an order from Mexico's Supreme Court to honor their request to complete the first same-sex union in the state of Baja California.

      But on January 11, in their fourth attempt at marriage since June 2013 in Mexicali, Baja's desert capital, Victor Manuel Aguirre and Victor Fernando Urias were met with closed doors and once more couldn't get married.

      Instead, religious conservatives picketed the municipal registrar offices (along with alleged non-interested parties meant to boost the protesters' numbers) when the two men, known as "Los Victors," arrived with hopes of tying the knot.

      Supporters cried foul, and accused the city of obstructing a June 2014 Supreme Court decision in favor of the couple's right to wed in the state. On Friday, a lawyer representing the couple said they would seek to file charges against Mexicali mayor Jaime Diaz Ochoa.

      "[The mayor] is the only person that has the authority to shut down city hall," lawyer Jose Luis Marquez told VICE News. "By doing this, he's making it clear that he has been involved in impeding this wedding."

      Mexicali city hall officials held a press conference on Saturday afternoon to clear the air on why the state's first gay union was thwarted again. This time, they argued they responded to a letter submitted by a city-appointed marriage counselor, Angelica Gonzalez Sanchez, who claimed the two men were crazy and therefore could not be married.

      'I am asking that at this moment, before their marital union is allowed, they be evaluated by medical specialists to determine their degree of insanity.'

      In the document, she states that on the day Aguirre and Urias showed up for counseling, Gonzalez and her husband decided to cancel the session because, they reasoned, "these talks are meant for heterosexuals."

      Witnesses recorded the moment when the marriage counselor — who is also head of a group called the Coalition of Baja California Families — refused to release proof of attendance for the men, a requirement for filing for a marriage license in Mexicali. Gonzalez gave all other couples who showed up for the counseling their attendance certificates, but was unwilling to release one for the Victors, the recording shows.

      Gonzalez also says in her letter that the couple had acted "aggressively and impertinently" as they followed her out of the municipal hall, demanding answers over why they were turned away.

      "In my 28 years of experience, no normal person has ever done that, which is why I suspect the couple may suffer from insanity," Gonzalez wrote — twice placing the word insanity in all caps. "I am asking that at this moment, before their marital union is allowed, they be evaluated by medical specialists to determine their degree of INSANITY."

      She cites the city's constitution as defining marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, even though Mexico's Supreme Court ruled the local definition unconstitutional last year.

      At least thirteen other same-sex partnerships in Baja California are also stalled due to local officials' actions, reports said.

      "I have rights, too," the marriage counselor said during the confrontation outside city hall. "The people of Baja California have more say in the matter." 

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      The pair tried getting married at Mexicali city hall in November 2014, and were denied.

      Last November, Urias and Aguirre went to city hall on their planned wedding day, dressed in white tuxedos, where they were greeted by about a dozen protesters holding picket signs with biblical quotes. Some chanted "God can save Mexicali."

      When the Victors and guests started asking questions, city hall employees reportedly told them there was a problem with the documents they submitted to the civil registry officer, Adriana Nevarez, who was not at work that day. Staff members claimed Nevarez had a meeting to attend with the Mayor Jaime Díaz, although this meeting was never confirmed.

      Aguirre and Urias became upset, refusing to leave until they were legally married. But, the two were soon escorted from city hall, after an alleged bomb threat led to the evacuation of the premises.

      Later that same day, then dressed in casual wear, both Victors returned to city hall to meet with Nevarez.

      Nevarez then did attend to the couple, and reportedly told the pair that the ceremony could not be officiated because of inconsistencies on the mens' birth certificates and discrepancies among their witnesses' signatures.

      VICE News attempted to contact Nevarez, but I was told several times she was unavailable.

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      "They looked for dumb excuses to postpone the inevitable," Victor Urias told Animal Politico on Monday.

      In response to the municipal obstruction of the Victors' wedding, supporters have flocked to social media to support them, taking up the hashtag "#MisDerechosNoSonLocura," or, #MyRightsAreNotInsanity.

      Armando Rodriguez, president of the state's sexual diversity council, threatened to publish a list of alleged homosexual state employees at every level if the wedding is held off indefinitely.

      On Tuesday, the couple met with the National Human Rights Commission in Mexico City to submit a formal complaint and discuss the discrimination they have faced in their state. They also met with members of Mexico's Senate.

      "We have appealed, because we saw a repetition of the act that we had complained about," Marquez said. "The first complaint was due to the rejection of paperwork, which was in order, and this second time they accused my clients of being crazy without any medical certificate or proof."

      The couple has not yet set a date for their next attempt at marriage. "I just want the law to be upheld," Urias told VICE News.

      An entire police force in Mexico is held for questioning over kidnapped journalist. Read more here.

      Follow Joey Muñoz on Twitter @JoeyTijuana. Andrea Noel contributed to this report.

      Topics: same-sex marriage, gay rights, mexicali, baja california, mexico, civil union, insanity, victor aguirre, victor urias, americas, politics, civil rights, gay marriage

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