Mexico's Supreme Court ruled in favor of three same-sex couples to whom the authorities in the southern state of Oaxaca had refused authorization to wed, bringing the country one step closer to general recognition of this type of union.

The high court declared Article 143 of the Civil Code of Oaxaca unconstitutional, specifically the part stating that marriage "has the purpose of perpetuating the species."

That language "threatens people's self-determination and the right to the free development of their personality, by conditioning the union between a single man and a single woman to the fulfillment of that task," the justices found.

In addition, the court said, it violates the principle of equality because "it gives differentiated treatment to couples of men or of women compared to heterosexual couples, excluding people of the same sex from the possibility of marrying."

Same-sex matrimony has been legal in Mexico City since 2009, and the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Mexico's 31 other jurisdictions must recognize the validity of marriages between people of the same sex that are performed in the capital.

Other states, such as Coahuila and Quintana Roo, have less restrictive laws than the one in Oaxaca, but the Mexico City law is, to date, the only one explicitly permitting same-sex marriages. EFE