You requested a legal opinion regarding whether a marriage certificate issued by the
Register of Deeds in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo to a same-sex couple is acceptable
evidence to change the name of a replacement SSN card applicant.
Because it appears that the Mexican State of Quintana Roo permits same-sex marriages,
the marriage certificate issued by the Register of Deeds should be accepted as evidence
of the applicant’s name change for purposes of a replacement SSN card.
On August XX, 2017, the Civil Registry for Isla Mujeres in the State of Quintana Roo,
Mexico, issued a marriage certificate to N~ and J~. Based on this marriage certificate,
J~ (applicant) has requested a replacement SSN card that will display her name as
POMS RM 10212.050B provides that, for purposes of a name change, the agency should accept a foreign
marriage document involving a same-sex couple if it is issued by a foreign government
that permits same-sex marriages. Accordingly, we consulted the Law Library of Congress
for guidance on whether Quintana Roo, Mexico, permits same-sex marriages.
The Civil Code of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo governs civil status registration
and family law. And, Article 680 of the Code, which provides a list of formal requirements for marriage,
uses the term “person” and not “man and woman,” although many other articles dealing
with family issues, such as parental authority (art. 944), separately-owned property
(art. 756), alimony (art. 857), and filiation (arts. 868–917), refer to “father and
mother” and “husband and wife” (or “husband and woman”). Article 680 also states that “persons” intending to marry must submit a letter to
the officer of the Civil Registry before whom they celebrate the marriage, providing
the information required by the article. This indicates that same-sex marriage is not inconsistent with the Civil Code of
Other evidence further indicates that same-sex marriage is permitted in Quintana Roo.
For example, in November 2011 two same-sex couples married in the locality of Kantunilkin,
in the Municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas, Quintana Roo. On April XX, 2012, the General Directorate of the Civil Registry annulled the marriages.
Id. But, on April XX, 2012, the State Secretariat of Governance (Secretaría de Gobierno
del Estado) revoked the annulment of these two marriages, and announced that the Secretariat
recognized the legal validity of these and future marriages between persons of the
same sex, “as there is no legal impediment.”
In August 2014, another same-sex couple married at the Civil Registry of Tulum, Quintana
Roo, pursuant to a judicial ruling issued by the Third Collegiate Court of the Twenty-Seventh
Circuit. The Court annulled the previous refusal of the Civil Registry to celebrate the marriage. In addition, the Court ordered the Civil Registry of Quintana Roo to adapt the marriage
formats of the Registry to make them compatible with registering the marriages of
same-sex couples. The General Directorate of the Civil Registry (Dirección General del Registro Civil)
of Quintana Roo complied with the Court’s order and made the appropriate modifications
to the marriage format used in the Civil Registry.
For the reasons discussed above, we conclude that the Mexican State of Quintana Roo
permits same-sex marriages, and thus the marriage certificate issued by the Register
of Deeds should be accepted as evidence of the applicant’s name change for purposes
of a replacement SSN card. We further conclude that the beginning date for recognition
of same-sex marriages is likely August 2014, the date that the Third Collegiate Court
of the Twenty-Seventh Circuit ordered the Civil Registry of Quintana Roo to adapt
the marriage formats of the Registry to make them compatible with registering the
marriages of same-sex couples.
Regional Chief Counsel, Region V
By Cristine Bautista