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Peña "The Detractor"

This is one more onslaught from the central government to snatch whatever little independence the states have left to govern themselves
By The News · 19 of May 2016 07:57:14
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto talking to invitees after an official ceremony to mark the International Day Against Homophobia in Mexico City, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto talks to invitees after an official ceremony to mark the International Day Against Homophobia at Los Pinos presidential house in Mexico City, Mexico, May 17, 2016, in this handout provided by Mexico Presidency. Mexico Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY., photo: Mexico Presidency, via Reuters

Political profiteering is behind every presidential move and the question of the day is: What does President Enrique Peña Nieto have to gain by pushing a law that would legalize same-sex marriage nationwide?

Let’s take a look at several targets the president might possibly be aiming at by sending the not so controversial piece of legislation to Congress.

One is that there are elections going on next June 5 in 13 states of the republic — 12 for governor and state assemblies — and by going national with gay marriage, the president will make his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) look liberal. Lest we forget, it was the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) that first legalized same-sex marriage in Mexico City, in 1997. The president is definitely aiming at snatching a promo banner from the PRD.

A second gain is that the president will be overriding some 17 states that still oppose same-sex marriage and its legalization, which up until now has been seen as the state’s right to determine. By making it nationally constitutional, the states lose their rights over defining whether they want same-sex marriages or not.

To quote an article The News published on Tuesday’s on this issue, “Mexico’s Supreme Court said last year that laws restricting marriage to a man and woman were unconstitutional and a Supreme Court judge urged states to legalize gay marriage.”

A third consideration was made by the president before allegedly yielding to the pressure of “international homosexual lobbies” and knowingly issuing this executive legislation to provoke the wrath of the still somewhat mighty Catholic Church.

In fact, no sooner had the president made the announcement last Tuesday, that there was an answer from the Mexico Archdioceses spokesman Hugo Valdemar “appealing to the conscience” of legislators from all political parties to oppose the bill.

And the Catholic Church definitely still wields enormous and influential political power in many central Mexico states where the state governments will surely fight the bill claiming — rightly so — that this is one more onslaught from the central government to snatch whatever little independence the states have left to govern themselves.

Another comment by priest Valdemar is that the president has taken the role of “a detractor” from many more important issues such as insecurity, crime and official corruption.

The “detraction,” however, is another political gain for the president, as there was an immediate reaction from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who celebrated the same-sex marriage-measures bill announcement and called upon — hear ye Valdemar — all political parties in Congress to back the proposed bill.

And all the LGBTQ voters in Mexico will surely sympathize with the move and on election-day. This is celestial music to the PRI politicians currently running for office.

Thus far, we have not heard a reaction from the National Action Party (PAN) but it will surely give the blue banner party the blues as their previous campaigns against abortion and same-sex marriage have been virtually destroyed. And for Peña Nieto, doing damage to PAN is a political gain too.

It will certainly be great political fun to see how PAN legislators react to this bill, which is bound to receive the sympathy of most political parties when it hits the Senate and Chamber of Deputies floors.

What Peña Nieto can also claim as a gain is that the bill represents an onslaught against Mexican machismo which has forever vilified homosexuality. Mexico ranks very high among nations where violence against homosexual people is very high.

The relevance of all this is that a conservative president like Peña Nieto has dared to break the taboos, reigning in most of the states by aiming to make same-sex marriage constitutional. That too is a gain, as all LGBTQ groups are claiming, for the nation.