A lesbian couple from Texas have become the first international visitors to take advantage of a new civil union law in Mexico's Coahuila state.
Maria Carreon Lara, 39, and Amparo Maldonado, 24, of Midland, Texas, registered as a "civil solidarity union" under the law that took effect last month in Coahuila - the first of Mexico's 31 states to recognize to homosexual unions.
Nonresidents can register under the law, which provides gay couples with social benefits similar to those of married couples, if they are in Coahuila legally. It is unclear if the union will have any legal standing in the United States.
The couple, who are of Mexican descent, have lived together for five years, local media reported. They registered for the union in the city of Ciudad Acuna, across the U.S. border from Del Rio, Texas.
On Jan. 31, a lesbian couple from Mexico's northern state of Tamaulipas registered for the first civil union in Coahuila.
In November, Mexico City - a semi-independent capital zone that has some of the same powers as states - passed a similar measure, the first in the nation's history. It takes effect in March.
While homosexuality is still taboo in many rural parts of Latin America, the region's urban areas are becoming more socially liberal. Mexico City and Coahuila join the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires and the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul in legalizing same-sex civil unions, the AP says.
At the national level, lawmakers in Costa Rica and Colombia have debated, but not passed, similar measures.
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