Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto SHIFTS Views On Same Sex Marriage
McALLEN, Texas • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Tuesday proposed legalizing gay marriage across the country, a sign of a new milestone in Latin America’s gradual shift toward marriage equality.
For a country that remains predominantly Catholic, and a region with a history of conservative social mores, Peña Nieto’s announcement marks a significant evolution. While same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City and some states, many parts of the country don’t allow it and have fought legal battles to protect their vision of traditional marriage between a man and a woman.
Peña Nieto’s proposed overhaul would enshrine in the constitution repeated rulings from Mexico’s Supreme Court that states cannot ban same-sex couples from marrying. In these decisions, the Supreme Court has found that state laws that limit marriage to heterosexuals are discriminatory.
During an event Tuesday to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Peña Nieto said that the court has recognized marriage as a human right “without any discrimination.”
“That is, for marriages to be without discrimination for ethnic origin, disability, social or health condition, religion, gender or sexual preference,” he said.
For Peña Nieto, whose Twitter profile turned rainbow-colored on Tuesday, the move marks the latest sign of a liberal shift in his social policies. In April, he proposed legalizing marijuana in small amounts and for medicinal issues. In that case, Peña Nieto’s proposal followed a Supreme Court decision that said people could grow and consume marijuana for personal use.
That initiative, and the gay marriage one, will require congressional approval.
So far in his three years in office, Peña Nieto has proven adept at getting overhauls through Congress, including constitutional amendments. Mexico has opened up its hermetic oil industry to foreign investment for the first time in decades, restructured education policies and weakened traditional business monopolies. But after a series of corruption and violence scandals in the government, Peña Nieto’s approval ratings have fallen, and his implementation of various overhauls has been criticized.
Mexico City, the capital and the country’s liberal bastion, legalized gay marriage in 2009, the first major jurisdiction in Latin America to make such a move. One northern state, Coahuila, followed, and Quintana Roo, on the Yucatán Peninsula, has allowed gay marriage since 2012, as it is not specifically prohibited in state law. In recent years, many Latin American countries have moved to allow civil unions and same-sex marriage, including Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, with several others moving in that direction.
Read More:The Salt Lake Tribune