Mexican president proposes reform supporting same-sex marriage

World Today

FILE – In this March 11, 2010 file photo, same sex couples celebrate after getting married at City Hall in Mexico City. The couples wed under Latin America’s first law that explicitly approves gay marriage. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, proposed legalizing gay marriage, a move that would enshrine on a national level a Supreme Court ruling last year that it was unconstitutional for states to bar same-sex couples from wedding.(AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo, File)

Mexico is one step closer to legalizing gay marriage. President Enrique Pena Nieto has proposed a constitutional reform that, if approved, would make his country the fifth in Latin America to do so.

CCTV America’s Martin Markovits reports.

Follow Martin Markovits on Twitter @MartinMarkovits

In a groundbreaking move, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said he would submit a proposal to Congress to legalize gay marriage nationwide.

“This ensures that, in our country, all Mexicans regardless of their social condition, religion, sexual preference, [or] ethnicity have the opportunity for complete marriage,” Nieto said.

Same-sex marriage was already legal in a handful of states and in Mexico City. But a Supreme Court decision last year declared same-sex marriage bans were unconstitutional across the country. Pena Nieto’s proposal came because many states did not comply with that ruling. 

This is part of growing a trend of Latin American countries embracing same-sex marriage as the region becomes more secular, despite its overwhelming Catholic majority.

There are still many who oppose the decision. Consuelo Mendoza Garcia, President of the National Union of Families, feels that the president’s decision is leaving those with “natural” families behind.

“A president cannot force a way of life on the people he is governing,” Garcia said. “He needs to represent the interest of all Mexicans.”

Pena Nieto’s decision has come as a surprise since he never championed this issue in the past. But with low approval rating numbers and his poor record in human rights, some analysts said politics may have prompted him to make this historic decision.