Tens of thousands of people marched through Mexico City on Saturday in opposition to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s push to legalize same-sex marriage.
Organizers of the National Front for the Family estimated at least
215,000 people participated, and while that number could not be
immediately confirmed, it was clearly one of the largest protest marches
in Mexico in recent years.
Dressed mainly in white and carrying white balloons, the marchers
held banners warning against same-sex marriage and demanding parents’
right to control sex education in schools.
“We are not against anybody’s (sexual) identity,” said Abraham
Ledesma, an Evangelical pastor who traveled from the border city of
Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, to participate in
“What we are against is the government imposition … of trying to
impose gender ideology in education,” Ledesma said. “As religious
leaders, we don’t want to be forced to marry same-sex couples and call
Others carried signs saying “an adopted child deserves a mother and a father.”
On the other side of a police barricade separating the two sides at
Mexico’s Independence Monument, a far smaller crowd of same-sex marriage
supporters - perhaps a couple hundred - listened to music and speeches.
“They may be the majority,” said Felipe Quiroz, a gay activist and
school teacher. “But just because they are the majority, doesn’t mean
they can take rights away from minorities. That would lead us to a dark
period, to fundamentalism.”
Many saw the massive march as the Roman Catholic church flexing its
political muscle in a country where about 80 percent of people identify
as nominally Catholic.
In May, Pena Nieto proposed legalizing same-sex
It is currently legal only in some places such as
Mexico City, the northern state of Coahuila and Quintana Roo state on
the Caribbean coast.
But in June, Pena Nieto’s party suffered unprecedented losses in
midterm governorship elections, and his party has since put the proposal
on the back burner in Congress.
Activists say opposition to same-sex marriage played a role.
Jose Medrano, a university professor, came to Saturday’s march from
the northern state of Chihuahua, where the ruling party lost the
governorship in June to the conservative, pro-Catholic National Action
“We may have influenced this, because the proposal (for same-sex
marriage) was presented just a few weeks before the elections, and a lot
of people were against it,” said Medrano.