Mexico City Mulls Conjugal Visits for Gay Prisoners

A new anti-discrimination rule could permit conjugal visits for gay inmates in Mexico City prisons, a city official said.

The city's secretary of government, Alejandro Encinas (search), told the newspaper Reforma for its Wednesday edition that under the regulation published Tuesday, requests by gay inmates for "intimate visits" would have to be considered, although no such requests have yet been made.

"We would be obliged to analyze it [a request] and we would have to find sufficient, necessary legal support to accept it," Encinas said. A representative of Encinas' office confirmed Encinas' comments.

As in many Latin American nations, Mexico permits conjugal visits for some inmates. Encinas noted that the rules require "a permanent, stable relationship" — though not necessarily marriage — between those granted the privilege.

The new anti-discrimination regulation, which follows a recent national constitutional amendment, requires "respect for human rights, without distinction or preference by group, religion, sexual orientation or by particular individuals" throughout the prison system.

A lesbian inmate in a Colombian prison won a court decision in 2001 ruling that gay inmates had the same rights to intimate visits as did other prisoners.

Some prisons in Brazil also have considered such a system.