SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court says increasing social acceptance of gays in Mexico does not make them less vulnerable to persecution.

A divided 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reached that conclusion in a ruling Wednesday that revived the asylum claim of a gay Mexican man, Carlos Alberto Bringas-Rodriguez, who alleged he was abused as a child because of his sexual orientation.

A smaller 9th Circuit panel had rejected Bringas’ claim, citing gay pride marches, expanded marriage equality and other indicators that gays were gaining acceptance in Mexico.

Writing for the majority in Wednesday’s ruling, 9th Circuit Judge Kim Wardlaw said laws in Mexico prohibiting persecution of gays were not evidence of on-the-ground progress.

An email to the U.S. Department of Justice for comment was not immediately returned.

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