September 25, 2016 at 1:05 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Mexico City anti-marriage march draws tens of thousands

Mexico City, gay news, Washington Blade

Opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples march in Mexico City on Sept. 24, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Ricardo Baruch)

Opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples marched in Mexico City on Saturday.

The National Front for the Family, which organized the march, said in a press release that 215,000 people took part. Reuters cited Mexico City authorities who said around 20,000 people participated in the march.

“The protesters demonstrated their belief in the institution of natural marriage, which is built upon the stable and complementary relationship between a man and a woman,” said the National Front for the Family. “At the same time, they recognized the right of children to have a dad and a mom and recalled that adoption is not a right for adults.”

The march took place roughly four months after President Enrique Peña Nieto announced that he would seek to amend the Mexican constitution to allow same-sex marriage and adoption across the country.

The Mexican Congress would have to consider the proposed amendment. Two-thirds of each chamber would have to support it and half of the country’s 31 states would have to ratify it.

Diego von Stauffenberg of the National Organization for Marriage and roughly a dozen others gathered outside the Mexican Embassy in D.C. on Friday to show their support for the National Front for the Family. Pilar Vazquez Calda, a D.C. resident who is originally from Mexico City, submitted a petition to Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Carlos Sada Solana that expresses opposition to the proposed amendment.

“We should defend the institution (of marriage,)” Vazquez told the Blade.

NOM President Brian Brown was in Mexico City on Saturday. Von Stauffenberg told the Blade that he did not take part in the protest.

“He happens to be in Mexico as an observer,” said von Stauffenberg.

BuzzFeed reported Ludovine de la Rochère of La Manif Pour Tous, a group that led efforts against the extension of marriage rights to same-sex couples in France in 2013, traveled to Mexico City this weekend. Mario Roma of the Family Network, which supports the National Front for the Family, told the website opponents of nuptials for gays and lesbians from overseas were in the Mexican capital to discuss the creation of a “front for the family” in Latin America.

Pope Francis backs anti-marriage campaign

Same-sex couples can legally marry in Mexico City and in several states across the country.

The Mexican Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that laws banning same-sex marriage are “discriminatory.”

A 2015 ruling said a law banning same-sex couples from adopting children in the state of Campeche is unconstitutional. The Mexican Supreme Court on Friday formally published the ruling that sets a legal precedent for the issue across the country.

The National Front for the Family staged dozens of protests against same-sex marriage and adoption across Mexico on Sept. 10.

Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón was among the thousands who took part in a march in the city of Tijuana. Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his support for those who have protested against efforts to extend marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples in Mexico.

Alex Ali Méndez Díaz, a lawyer who has spearheaded same-sex marriage efforts across the country, and other activists filed a formal complaint last month against church officials.

“Marriage equality is already a reality in Mexico thanks to court rulings,” Méndez told the Blade on Saturday. “The march is only an attempt to avoid the issue that is already explicitly recognized in the federal constitution.”

Activists stage counter-protest

Supporters of marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples on Saturday staged a counter-protest at the iconic Angel of Independence Monument on Paseo de la Reforma. The Movement for Equality in Mexico, a coalition of LGBT advocacy groups, and Mexico City’s Council to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination placed rainbow flags along the boulevard on which the protest and the march against marriage and adoption rights took place.

“The march against same-sex marriage was not a success as the organizers thought it would be,” Ricardo Baruch, a Mexican LGBT rights advocate, told the Blade.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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