Quietly taking part in Saturday’s demonstration was Tijuana’s Roman Catholic archbishop, Francisco Moreno Barrón, together with his predecessor, Rafael Romo Muñoz, at his side.The Tijuana Archdiocese was named in a complaint submitted last week at Tijuana City Hall by Méndez’s organization, Mexico Igualitario, and Comunidad Cultural de Tijuana LGBTI.
Thousands of opponents of same-sex marriage, including Tijuana’s new Roman Catholic archbishop, gathered for a rally in the city Saturday to protest Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s proposed constitutional reform favoring the right for couples to marry regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
The Roman Catholic Church has openly backed the cause and encouraged its faithful to join the protests Saturday, but its leaders have insisted that the church is not an organizer.
The issue is a sensitive one, as advocates for same-sex marriage have accused the church hierarchy of violating Mexican laws that stipulate a separation of church and state.“It’s very clear how these civil society organizations are being used to promote the positions of churches,” said Alex Ali Méndez, an attorney who has led the legal fight across Mexico on behalf of same-sex couples petitioning to marry.
In recent years, same-sex marriage has made legal gains in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
A Pew Research Center survey between 20 listed Uruguay as the only Latin country where a majority of residents favor same-sex marriage, with 62 percent.
The figure was nearly 50 percent in Mexico and Argentina, while in Brazil it was 45 percent.