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Catholic Church Encourages Opposition to Gay Marriage in Mexico

Catholic Church Encourages Opposition to Gay Marriage in Mexico

An extraordinary ruling by the Mexico Supreme Court earlier this month, upholding the constitutionality of an earlier law which allowed gays to marry and adopt children, is now under serious fire from the Catholic Church in Mexico.  The Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez, has been particularly outspoken, claiming that the mayor of Mexico City bribed the Supreme Court to hand down a ruling that favored gay rights.

The Church and the Mexican government have had a tormented relationship ever since the government restricted the Church’s powers in the mid-nineteenth century.  Over the course of the early twentieth century, the government passed increasingly strict restrictions aimed at reducing the Church’s influence over state affairs. 

Article 130 of the 1917 Mexican Constitution, which prohibits church members from participating in political affairs (i.e. campaigning, running for office, etc), struck a severe blow to the Catholic Church’s power, and its reinforcement in the late 1920′s by the current president, an atheist, resulted in a bloody war between Church supporters and the government in which many priests were killed.

This meant, although the restriction was modified in 1992, that although Mexico has the second largest Catholic population in the world, it is also one of the most secular states in Latin America.  The Church, however, may be ready to change that.  Although Mexico City’s mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, is suing Cardinal Iniguez for defamation, the Church has no desire to back down.

If we see that something is unfair or contrary to national law, even if the constitution says we can’t, we think we have to speak out,” Father Hugo Valdemar, spokesperson for the Mexico City Archdiocese, said to the BBC.  He claimed that Article 130 renders religious officials “second class citizens,” their freedom of expression curtailed.

However, in a pattern that will not surprise anyone who is familiar with the contemporary Catholic Church, the population, while nominally Catholic, seems to have quite different views on sexual and reproductive rights than their religious hierarchy.  “This comes out of the desperation of the Catholic Church hierarchy, who haven’t been able to mobilise the population against these reforms,” explained Professor Roberto Blancarte, who teaches church-state relations.

These lawsuits are not likely to go away soon, nor are the Church’s allegations, so we’ll keep following this issue – but for now, let’s hope that the Church is unsuccessful in its threats against the newly upheld gay rights legislation.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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12:01PM PDT on Sep 25, 2010

Hang tough Mexico. I am very impressed.

2:17AM PDT on Sep 5, 2010

If priests in Mexico don't want to married their boyfriends, they shouldn't have to!

9:27PM PDT on Sep 4, 2010


5:00PM PDT on Sep 4, 2010

I live in Mexico and the Catholic church needs to shut up, The history of the people they treated so brutally, was based on sacrifice (humans) to their Gods. Many are Catholic here, but still retain their history. One would think after hundreds of priests world wide molesting thousands of children, they would be quiet for oh---at least a few years? But then child molestation is all about power and control. Nevermind...

3:57AM PDT on Sep 4, 2010

very nice

11:57PM PDT on Sep 3, 2010

Catholic Church should be more tolerant

5:04AM PDT on Sep 3, 2010

The last people to be the judge of ethics are religious people. Obedience is not morality, honest vigilance is.

7:26AM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

I can't find that quote in the bible. But if you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there. The reason for Separation of Church and State is all around us. It causes war and war equals death. Down with the Catholic Imams and all who would judge and hurt others.

3:26AM PDT on Sep 2, 2010

Paul C.: you are very sharp, man. I wonder if God hasn't reincarnated in you this time. Bless you and your little brain.

9:54PM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

No one has the right to tell anyone how to live..

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