MEXICO CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Over 1 million Mexicans took to the streets across the country to voice their support for traditional marriage and reject the government's call for recognition of same-sex "marriage."
In a string of simultaneous protests held Saturday in more than six Mexican states, natives of the traditionally Catholic nation challenged the push from the government of Pres. Enrique Peña Nieto, a self-described Catholic, to enshrine gay "marriage" in the nation's constitution. Sponsored by conservative Catholic organization National Front for the Family (NFF), the protests were described by civil protection officers as one of the largest demonstrations in the nation's history.
The protests, marked by chants of "Viva la familia natural," or "Long live the natural family," were comprised of over 1,000 groups, including pro-life organizations, Catholic schools and orphanages.
"I think it was something unprecedented, the awakening of the society of Querétaro in defense of the family," asserted Jose Alcantara with the NFF, speaking of the protest held in the north-central Mexican state. In the state of Querétaro alone, Alcantara noted, over 100,000 signed their names to a petition challenging the push for same-sex "marriage."
"Marriage is between a man and woman for the purpose of procreation," maintained Catholic and mother of two, Ariadna León, who took part in the Tijuana protest. "We are asking for the respect of the nucleus of society, which is the family."
The peaceful protests were backed by the bishops of Mexico, including Tijuana archbishop Francisco Moreno Barrón, who, along with his predecessor Abp. Emeritus Rafael Romo Muñoz, marched in the city's protest. Moreno had publicly declared his intent to take part in Saturday's event in the weeks prior to the protests, resulting in being noted in a complaint filed last week with the Tijuana City Hall by LGBT activists, who accused the archbishop of violating the Mexican constitution by his open support of the marches.
However, the archbishop has stood firm. "We have the right to defend our values," he declared in a homily.
The prelates of Mexico have been noted for their outspoken condemnation of the push for legalized same-sex "marriage." In August, the archdiocese of Mexico City published an editorial denouncing active homosexuality, basing its arguments for Church teaching in philosophy and natural law. The letter implored homosexuals to "live in continence and chastity" and not to "surrender" to the impulse.
Referencing the push for so-called gay marriage, the archdiocese has stated that the move is "a danger for the family and for the country."
Across various major media outlets, the number of protestors in the Mexican states were grossly understated, according to organizers of the event, whose claim of over 1.1 million marchers counters those who reported that the gathering was made up of only thousands, or even hundreds, of Mexicans.
Opposition to the march for traditional marriage came in the form of small pro-LGBT counter-protests, which were attended by a few hundred activists. "It's a discriminatory position and we hope it doesn't have success," one LGBT protestor remarked.
A representative of LGBT activist group Comunidad Cultural de Tijuana LGBTI accused the protestors of "creating hate" with the intent to spark "physical aggression" against homosexuals. Others maintained the Catholic Church was exploiting various organizations "to promote the positions" of the Church.
Remarking on freedom of expression within Mexico, Alex Ali Méndez, an attorney championing same-sex "marriage" across the country, claimed that "the standards for that freedom of expression are different when exercised by religious groups and those involved in public worship."
Gay "marriage" currently remains illegal in most of Mexico's 31 states despite a June 2015 ruling from the nation's supreme court declaring it unconstitutional for states to declare marriage to be between one man and one woman. Many state legislatures, however, have refused to accept the ruling, resulting in case-by-case legal challenges being filed on behalf of same-sex couples seeking a gay "marriage."
The 2015 ruling was swiftly met with criticism from Mexico's bishops, with Cdl. Juan Sandoval Íñiguez of Guadalajara labeling gay marriage "deviant" and asserting that marriage must "not be perverted" if the country is to thrive.