MOSCOW, February 21 - RAPSI. The Supreme Court of Mexico made public this week its decision that gay marriage is a constitutionally protected right.

The decision came as a response to a judgment rendered by a lower court in the state of Oaxaca, which – citing the definition contained in its Civil Code – had declared the institution of marriage as one between a man and a woman.

In establishing the right of gay couples to marry under Mexico’s constitution, the Supreme Court cited several international cases, including two landmark American equality cases: Loving v. Virgina, which rendered bans on interracial marriage unconstitutional, and Brown v. Board of Education, which declared racial segregation in schools unconstitutional.

Although neither case focuses on gay marriage, both served to extend basic rights to formerly marginalized populations that had historically been denied equal protection under the law.

The Mexican Supreme Court quoted its American counterpart as having established in Loving v. Virginia that, “restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause.”

In connection with this assertion in the Loving decision, the Mexican Supreme Court established that the normative power of entering into marriage is of little value if the possibility of marrying the person of one’s choice is removed from the equation.

The court considers several key benefits that couples seek from the institution of marriage, including: fiscal benefits, solidarity, survivor’s benefits, property rights, medical decision rights, and immigration benefits for foreign spouses.

Lacking the option to enjoy some of these material benefits threatens to impact the quality of life enjoyed by homosexual couples, according to the judgment.

With regard to Brown v. Board of Education, the Mexican court noted the US court’s reasoning that racial segregation gave African American children a sense of inferiority.

With reference to this point, the Mexican Supreme Court analogized denying same-sex couples the right to enjoy the institution of marriage on an equal basis with their heterosexual counterparts with denying African American children the right to enjoy educational institutions on an equal basis with their white counterparts.

The Mexican court then turned to Atala Riffo y niñas v. Chile a decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that established the obligation of states to adopt measures aimed at reversing or changing discriminatory situations that exist in society. According to the Atala Riffo decision, this vests states with a special duty to protect with respect to actions and practices by third parties that are favorable to discrimination.