MEXICALI, Baja California, Mexico (Border Report) — After much debate, Baja California’s State Congress turned down an initiative to establish equal marriage protections for gay couples.

Baja California is just south of California.

Technically, same-sex marriage in the state is legal, but the new measure would have eliminated many legal obstacles encountered by gay couples. It would have removed wording from the state’s constitution which says marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Right now, gay couples have to wait for rejection when they apply for a marriage license, only then can they file an injunction with a federal court.

Attorneys have argued that same-sex marriages end up costing 10 times more and take four times longer to tie the knot.

Several Mexican states including Mexico City have eliminated the need for couples to get that federal injunction, thus formally legalizing same-sex marriage.

Advocates had hoped it would happen in Baja California.

This is the second time the initiative has failed. Last year it was put on the table but withdrawn when many conservative groups in the state opposed it.

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