Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mexico: A Secular Republic?

I was at Mexico City last week to present at CIDE law school - a research law school at Mexico - on medical confidentiality, a topic I´ve been working on in the last 2 years. In my days there, a historical constitutional debate was taking place. Section 40 of the federal constitution currently states that Mexico is a representative, democratic, and federal republic (“República representativa, democrática, federal") Last week, the House of Representatives approved - almost by unanimity - the addition of the word "secular." Thus, if the Senate were to approve the motion, Mexico would become a representative, democratic, federal, and secular republic. The addition of one word may seem insignificant; however, it may be a very important change for constitutional adjudication and interpretation in Mexico.


  1. Martin,
    What do you think the change will consist of? I can imagine certain things, similar to the Sestablishment Clause in the US Constitution, but I just don't know enough about the Mexican situation. So, for example, are public funds currently being allocated to religious institutions and is this likely to stop?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Adam. I dont know much about Mexican con law, except for what I learnt during my viist last week. I understand that Mexico does not have there is no official religion. The Catholic Church, however, is a very strong political actor; my colleagues tell me that President Calderón has in many ocassions behaved as if that were the official religion. So I take it that the addition of the word "secular" will certainly have a political effect on how political agents relate to religious views in public.


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