The National Front for the Family, a coalition of groups that oppose marriage rights for same-sex couples, organized rallies and marches that took place in Guadalajara, Monterrey, Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Cancún and other cities.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón was among the thousands who took part in the Tijuana march. The National Front for the Family’s “national march” is scheduled to take place in Mexico City on Sept. 24.
“Marriage between a man and a woman, and the natural family, together are the foundations of our society,” says the National Front for the Family on its website.
Marriage opponents ‘marching against their children’
Same-sex couples can legally marry in Mexico City and in several states that include Jalisco in which the resort city of Puerto Vallarta is located.
The Mexican Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that laws banning same-sex marriage were “discriminatory.” President Enrique Peña Nieto announced in May that he would seek to amend the Mexican constitution to extend marriage and adoption rights to gays and lesbians across the country.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported 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.
The National Front for the Family has organized protests and other actions against the proposed amendment with the support of Mexico’s influential Roman Catholic Church, even though it does not appear likely that lawmakers will consider it. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported opponents of Peña Nieto’s proposal have launched a “citizens proposal” to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Alex Ali Méndez Díaz, a lawyer who has spearheaded same-sex marriage efforts across Mexico, and other activists and advocacy groups filed a formal complaint last month against church officials across the country.
“The scope of these marches is a factor that allows us to evaluate the efficiency of the institutions charged with promoting human rights,” Méndez told the Washington Blade on Sunday.
“It is an example that the advance of this issue requires more effective actions and not just reports and speeches,” he added. “On the other hand, it demonstrates the lack of information about the issue and how the church wants to impose its point of view about state institutions through the dissemination of false information.”
The National Front for the Family has not returned the Blade’s request for comment. LGBT rights advocates were quick to criticize the organization and those who support it.
“I’m really sad and angry that the largest demonstrations in this country for the last few decades are happening because of hate and homophobia,” Ricardo Baruch told the Blade from the city Cuernavaca.
Enrique Torre Molina, an All Out staffer who lives in Mexico City, expressed similar sentiments in a Twitter post.
“They are convinced that they are marching to protect their family, but what they are protecting is their privilege,” he wrote. “They think that they are marching against the possibility that certain types of families exist, but these families already exist. They are marching against their brothers and sisters, their teachers, their colleagues, their neighbors in the pews at Sunday Mass. They are marching against their children.”
A series of counter-protests in support of marriage rights for same-sex couples took place around the country on Saturday.
— Ricardo Baruch D. (@baruchdom) September 11, 2016
More than 300 people gathered in Mérida on the Yucatan Peninsula on Saturday to take part in a kiss-in. Many of those who took part in the protest climbed a monument in the center of the city and unfurled a large rainbow flag.
“The entire event was a celebration of love and diversity,” Ana Baquedano, an activist who took part in the protest, told the Blade.
Dozens of same-sex marriage supporters also gathered in Puerto Vallarta on Saturday.
Julie Guerrero, owner of No Way José!, a restaurant in the city’s Old Town, told the Blade the protest focused on the family and “recognizing all families.”
“The community and allies organized and represented in force,” she said.