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benito juarez and gays Benito Juárez, a president in the 19th century, respected the rights of others, reads the sign.

69% approve EPN’s gay marriage changes

But a coalition of family organizations is fighting the amendments

While a poll indicates strong support for same-sex marriage in Mexico, the Mexican Council of the Family claims it has gathered signatures from 240,000 people who want to see constitutional recognition that marriage is a union between a man and a woman.

Earlier this month, President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed amending the constitution and the Federal Civil Code to permit gay marriage throughout Mexico. It is currently legal in eight states.

A poll of 1,000 people by Gabinete de Comunicación Estratégica found 69% in favor of the change, and that 64% saw it as an advance in the recognition of human rights.

Similar results were obtained by a BGC-Excélsior poll that found 65% agreed completely or partially with legalizing same-sex marriage.

The numbers show that public opinion has changed radically over the course of 16 years.

In December 2000, just 23% of respondents felt that marriage between couples of the same sex should be allowed and they should have the same rights as traditional married couples. That figure has since soared to 55%.

Also in 2000, 62% felt that same-sex marriage should not be allowed under any circumstances. Today, only 25% feel that way.

Among the latter are members of the National Front for the Family, which claims that it represents more than 1,000 civil organizations that have joined forces in response to “attacks against the family as an institution and the foundation of society,” said spokesman Carlos Ramírez.

“We have united first of all to publicly reject, forcefully and firmly, the initiative proposed by the president,” said Ramírez, whose organization is calling on Mexicans to punish Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party by voting against it in the June 5 elections.

Ramírez said he found it “incredible” that the president was “giving in” to the gay lobby, “promoting laws that benefit a few while attacking and destroying the family.”

The changes to the constitution and federal law will now be debated by Congress. The president’s initiative was triggered by a Supreme Court decision last year ruling that state laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation were unconstitutional.

Source: ACI Prensa (sp), SIPSE (sp)

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