Four Mexican priests were outed by LGBTI activists last Friday – with claims of them being in gay relationships.
This came a day before thousands of people walked down the streets of Mexico City on Saturday dressed in white, carrying balloons at a rally in opposition to the push by the country’s President, Enrique Pena Nieto, to legalize same-sex marriage. Pena Nieto had earlier proposed legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide in May this year – as opposed to the current situation of it being legal in only certain parts of Mexico such as Mexico City, the northern state of Coahuila and Quintana Roo state on the Caribbean coast.
Pena Nieto’s bill would also grant gay couples adoption rights and would allow individuals to change the gender on their birth certificates, among other measures.
According to Cristian Galarza, an organiser for LGBTI rights group The National Pride Front, the Catholic church has ‘improper influence in public policy’ and is ‘subtly leading a backlash against the LGBTI community’.
‘Everyone deserves the right to be in the closet,’ said Galarza.
He added: ‘But when you come out and condemn homosexuality, condemn gay marriage, and try to influence a secular state, you have lost the right to the closet.’
Not every LGBTI activist agrees with Galarza, though.
‘They (referring to other LGBTI activists) can spin it anyway they want, but they are ultimately using someone’s sexual orientation as a tool against that person, which is exactly what the LGBT movement is not about,’ said campaign manager for LGBTI rights group All Out, Enrique Torre Molina.
Molina added: ‘If anyone knows how tough it can be to have your sexual orientation used against you, it is a gay or lesbian person.’
According to Molina, many in the LGBTI community are unable to agree that the decision to out these priests was a good one, regardless of their stance on gay marriage. Molina had also chosen not to attend the protest in Mexico City organised by Galarza’s group.
Meanwhile, Mexicans on both sides of the fence are also not afraid to be vocal about their opinions concerning same-sex marriage in the country.
‘We are pro-diversity and respect other sexual inclinations,’ said Magdalena Ibarrola, one of the protestors against same-sex marriage.
However, she also added: ‘But we are not in favour of the government imposing an ideology that does not match up with reality. We accept everyone but you can’t treat everyone the exact same way. It doesn’t work like that.’
Ibarrola also thinks that gay adoptions are harmful and corrupting for children.
On the other side of the fence, Alison Crash who lives on the outskirts of Mexico City, questions these protestors’ definition of a family.
‘They say people like us can’t form a family,’ said Crash.’A family is based on love and it can be made up of any combination of genders,’ she added. Crash may be looking at adopting a child with her partner Nicole Solis, also a transgender woman – this is currently illegal outside Mexico City.
On Sunday, the day after the march, the Pope – in an unexpected move – has also come out in support of Mexico’s bishops to oppose gay marriage.
‘I join willingly the Bishops of Mexico in supporting the efforts of the Church and civil society in favour of the family and of life, which at this time require special pastoral and cultural attention worldwide,’ said Francis after the weekly Angelus prayer.