Thousands of “pro-family” – but evidently only certain kinds of family – Mexicans came out this last weekend to protest a move by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and the courts to legalize same-sex marriage throughout the largely Catholic country.
The proposed change comes after years of violence against LGBTQ Mexicans, growing activism and successful court battles for marriage equality, and slow progress for same-sex marriage; it is now legal in a number of states and in México City, which recently celebrated a mass same-sex wedding ceremony. A new court ruling in favor of nationwide equality would effectively override state laws declaring marriage “something to be celebrated between a man and a woman.” Activists have hailed the move as “a blow against machismo, against the dominance of the church, and against conservatism.”
But such change comes hard, especially in a country with deep ties to the Catholic church. On Sept. 10th, dozens of marches were organized by the conservative Catholic coalition National Front for the Family, with Tijuana’s new Archbishop and many other church figures reportedly taking part; the Front has also gathered over 100,000 signatures on a petition seeking to block same-sex marriage. Many of the anti-equality marches were met with smaller groups of marriage equality supporters.
The most dramatic was the still-anonymous, 12-year-old boy in Celaya, Guanajuato who stood in the road trying to stop about 11,000 marchers heading his way.
At first, photo-journalist Manuel Rodríguez thought he was just randomly standing among them; when he interviewed the boy, he said he has an uncle who is gay, “and I hate the hatred.” From the much-honored elder and rabbi Hillel, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”