MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico on Tuesday, a move that would enshrine on a national level a Supreme Court ruling last year that it was unconstitutional for states to bar such couples from wedding.
If it is approved, Mexico would become the fifth country in Latin America to make same-sex marriage legal. The announcement was hailed by LGBT activists and criticized by church officials in Mexico, which is home to the second-largest Roman Catholic population on the planet.
Speaking at an event on the International Day Against Homophobia, Pena Nieto said he signed initiatives that would seek to amend the constitution and the national civil code.
Pena Nieto said he wants to change Article 4 of the constitution to clearly reflect the Supreme Court opinion “to recognize as a human right that people can enter into marriage without any kind of discrimination.”
“That is, for marriages to be carried out without discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or nationality, of disabilities, of social or health conditions, of religion, of gender or sexual preference,” he added.
Pena Nieto’s Twitter page and other government Twitter accounts were changed to include the rainbow colors as he made the announcement.
A two-thirds majority vote in congress is required to amend the constitution. Pena Nieto’s party and allies control about half the seats in both houses, and the measure could also pick up support from the leftist opposition Democratic Revolution Party.
It would then need to be ratified by a simple majority of states before going to the president for his signature.