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Mexico court upholds gay adoption law. Is Mexico more tolerant than US?

Mexico's Supreme Court upheld a law Monday that allows gay couples in the capital to adopt children. The gay adoption decision comes a week after the court upheld the constitutionality of gay marriage.

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Gay rights activists, holding up a Mexican flag and a rainbow flag, representing gay pride, demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in Mexico City, Monday. Mexico's Supreme Court voted Monday to uphold a Mexico City law allowing adoptions by same-sex couples.

Miguel Tovar/AP

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In Mexico City, on the same day that a US federal appeals court put same-sex weddings on hold, the nation's Supreme Court upheld a law that allows gay couples in the capital to adopt children. The gay adoption decision comes a week after the court upheld the constitutionality in general of gay marriage, after it was granted in Mexico City last year.

It might be mere coincidence that the two decisions came down on the same day, but it points to a question that many are starting to ask with some incredulity: Is staunchly Catholic Latin America more tolerant than the US when it comes to rights for same-sex couples?

“As California and the United States struggle with the issue of same-sex marriage at the polls and in courtrooms, Latin America is moving more broadly toward acceptance of this basic human right,” reads an Aug. 13 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times. “This is a wrenching issue for traditionally conservative and deeply religious countries, influenced by Roman Catholic and Protestant evangelical churches opposed to gay unions. But throughout Latin America, marriage is a civil institution performed by the state. The recognition that religion and civil law have different roles to perform in marriage is often painfully absent in the debate in this country; Latin American nations have hewed to that distinction and are better off for it.”

More tolerance south of the border?

Mexico's Supreme Court decision "will have resonance for courts throughout the continent for protecting the basic human rights of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] people,” Juliana Cano Nieto, of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

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