Mexican legislators kill same-sex marriage constitutional amendment

by Gregory Tomlin, |
People dressed in white arrive to participate in a march against the legalization of gay marriage and to defend their interpretation of traditional family values near the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City, Mexico, on September 24, 2016. | REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Christian Examiner) – The people of Mexico, steeped in Roman Catholicism, have been marching in the streets for months, chanting slogans such as "Defendamos la vida, el matrimonio, y la familia natural" – in English, "Defend life, marriage and the natural family."

Mexican leaders apparently have been listening. A committee in the national Chamber of Deputies has just squashed a proposal from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to amend the country's constitution to allow same-sex marriage.

The Committee on Constitutional Matters voted 19-8 against the proposal to allow same-sex marriage. Ironically, more than half of those who voted against the amendment were members of the president's own party (the Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI). The country's two socialist parties backed the proposal.

The proposed change to the country's constitution was wildly unpopular among traditionalists in the country, and not only because it would have allowed same-sex marriage. Opponents saw it as the gateway to same-sex adoptions.

The push for same-sex marriage on the part of the president set up a battle between the conservative lower and middle classes, still predominantly Catholic, and the liberal elite. Protestors argued they were not opposed to so-called "gay rights," but wanted to preserve the definition of marriage as only existing between one man and one woman.

In June, the president's party lost a significant number of seats in the government over the proposal, and in September, tens of thousands marched in Mexico City demanding the president abandon his plans. 

The march in September was small by comparison to the one that took place in February when more than 1 million took to the streets to voice their support for traditional marriage.

The country's Supreme Court ruled last year that state bans on same-sex marriage throughout Mexico are unconstitutional – a near identical scenario to the creation of the right of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2015.

Now, the National Front for the Family, which includes more than 1.000 pro-family groups, says it is ready to stand behind a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The proposed amendment to allow same-sex marriage in Mexico read, "Each person who has reached the age of 18 years has the right to contract marriage and cannot be discriminated against on the basis of ethnic or national origin, gender, physical disability, social condition, health, religion, sexual preference, or any other reason that offends human dignity."

Ironically, the idea of an offense to "human dignity" is language strikingly similar to the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges. In the oral arguments for the case on same-sex marriage, Justice Anthony Kennedy asked on five separate occasions whether the "human dignity" of gay couples was offended by not being able to marry. He wrote in his opinion that it was.

Earlier this month, Australia's Parliament also rejected a national vote on same-sex marriage.