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‘Familia’ marchers change route, avoid pro-gay rally

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Protesting same-sex marriage in Mexico, marches change plans and head south to the Plaza Grande. Photo: Facebook
Protesting same-sex marriage in Mexico, marchers change plans and head south to the Plaza Grande. Photo: Facebook

Mérida, Yucatán — The city was awash in pink and blue balloons as conservative critics of gay marriage filled the streets Saturday. 

The rally attracted what the media estimated to be 10,000-12,000 people, most wearing white shirts, to “defend marriage” and the traditional family structure. It was timed along with dozens of similar demonstrations across the country.

The marches were called by the National Front for the Family, a coalition of civil society organizations and religious groups.

Thousands of anti-gay-marriage protesters take to the streets and fill the Plaza Grande. Pro-diversity rainbow balloons can also be seen, bottom right. Photo: Facebook
Thousands of anti-gay-marriage protesters take to the streets and fill the Plaza Grande. Pro-diversity rainbow balloons can also be seen, bottom right. Photo: Facebook

In Yucatán, marchers didn’t head north from the Remate to the Monumento a la Patria as originally announced. 

At the last minute, the “pro-family” groups changed plans and marched in the opposite direction, taking security forces and local businesses by surprise, reports Diario de Yucatán. They then congregated at the Plaza Grande, where a platform and microphones were awaiting them.

A youthful crowd supporting marriage equality never got to face off with marchers. Photo: Facebook
A youthful crowd supporting marriage equality never got to face off with marchers. Photo: Facebook

So they didn’t see the counter-protest that awaited them at the monument.

Merida1 TV estimated about 400 predominantly young people gathered for a “besaton,” or kiss-in. Their counter-protest was more colorful, but they were outnumbered by far by the efficiently organized family groups, which headed down Calle 58 to the Plaza Grande.

Peaceful rallies

By all accounts, the day’s events transpired peacefully. The most conflict appeared to reside on social media.

Speakers at the National Front for the Family rally stress traditional values as general support for gay rights emerges. Photo: Uníon por la Familia
Speakers at the National Front for the Family rally stress traditional values in the face of rising support for gay rights. Photo: Unión por la Familia

On the Facebook page for Unión por la Familia, an administrator chided the counter-protestors for being outnumbered. 

“By the way, how many were on the monument? 200? 300? the. 00001% of the population?, Lt us be condescending and let’s say 500, I mean it. 00002% of the population. Greetings.”

Among the groups participating were Red Oro Yucatán, Unión Estatal de Padres de Familia and Asociación Maná, Caballeros de Colón, Paternidad Responsable, Semillitas de Mostaza, Aprendamos Juntos, Cefim, Fames and the national Presbyterian Church.

“Defienden la familia” screamed the lead headline in today’s Diario de Yucatán, echoing the stated point of view of the marchers who maintain that imposing “gender ideology” undermines the strict family code that is the backbone of society. The story was the most-viewed item on their website this morning.

Rallies elsewhere were even larger. The biggest turnout was in Querétaro, where an estimated 40,000 people converged. 

Mexico’s supreme court has ruled that laws restricting marriage to a man and woman were unconstitutional, and the president has forwarded a bill codifying same-sex marriage nationally.

Sources: Diario de Yucatán, Guardian (U.K.)

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