Palmira Martínez Gallardo Valdés and Gabriela Flores Castro began the process of formally adopting their child — 5-year-old Ricardo — in February of this year and were granted approval by a judge in May. The adoption was finally certified July 13, when they received a birth certificate bearing the names of both mothers.
Ricardo was initially taken into the care of the state after being abandoned just two days after his birth in November 2015. He was then put in a program run by the country’s child welfare system, known as the System for Integral Family Development, where the two women came to volunteer soon after. There, they met Ricardo and bonded instantly. “Even when he was very small, we clicked,” Castro said.
Adoption by same-sex couples has been legal in Mexico since the country’s Supreme Court ruled in a landmark 2010 decision that the government could not withhold legal rights on the basis of LGBTQ+ identity, according to Human Rights Watch.
The 9-2 verdict came in response to a challenge by the Mexico attorney general’s office to the 2009 legalization of same-sex unions in Mexico City, which was the first jurisdiction in all of Latin America to recognize full marriage equality. In the case, the attorney general’s office argued that the state was failing to protect the best interest of the child or uphold the concept of family by allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
The Supreme Court disagreed, citing a 2008 judgment from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in which the court ruled same-sex couples should have the same right to adopt that heterosexual couples and single people do. The ECHR also found that it was in a child’s best interest to have a loving family, regardless of sexual orientation.
In 2015, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its decision in striking down a law in the Yucatán Peninsula’s state of Campeche that barred same-sex couples from adopting.
Marriage equality is permitted in 20 of Mexico’s 32 states, including Jalisco, where it has been legal since 2016. Valdés and Castro decided to marry soon after same-sex unions were legalized and have been married for five years now.
While it’s been over a decade since marriage equality was first legalized in Mexico City, LGBTQ+ activist and consultant Enrique Torre Molina noted that queer and transgender people in Mexico still face legal and social obstacles. “That is why it is so important to have LGBT+ families, like the one formed by Palmira and Gabriela, willing to share their story with the media,” he tells them. in an email. “It is especially valuable when this happens in conservative states like Jalisco.”