Mexican state near Texas passes gay union law

Thursday, January 11, 2007; 11:35 PM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The northern state of Coahuila, a mining and ranching region south of Texas, approved gay civil union on Thursday, becoming the second area in Mexico to give legal status to homosexual partnerships.

Legislators in the state Congress voted 20-13 for a bill that gives gays greater rights than a similar law backed by Mexico City last November.

"It is more like a civil marriage," said Silvia Solis, a gay rights activist in the capital. She said Coahuila would grant social security benefits to both members of a homosexual union, an important demand of gay campaigners.

The law was promoted by Coahuila's Institutional Revolutionary Party, which rules the state.

Coahuila once formed a state with Texas, which was part of Mexico before the United States annexed much of what is now the U.S. Southwest in the mid-19th century.

The Argentine capital Buenos Aires legalized same-sex unions in 2002, in a move hailed as a first in Latin America.

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