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Mexico's President Calls For Enshrining Same-Sex Marriage In The Constitution

President Enrique Peña Nieto said he wants to legalize same-sex marriage in Mexico.

A day after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed enshrining same-sex marriage in the traditionally conservative country's constitution, Mexico's Catholic Church said it opposes the move.

NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on All Things Considered that the Church said same-sex marriage "cannot be equated with the marriage of a man and a woman." The country's bishops are calling for lawmakers to "study carefully the effects of same-sex unions on society."

But as Carrie reports, the Church's opposition may not present much of an obstacle for Nieto to pass the legislation, which would solidify a 2015 Supreme Court decision that said it was unconstitutional for states to bar same-sex couples from getting married.

Anthropologist and religious scholar Elio Masferrer Kan tells Carrie that the church is "much weaker now," and has "lost a lot of its credibility to several financial debacles and the global priest child abuse scandals."

Furthermore, as Carrie reports, "recent studies show that while 80 percent of Mexicans say they are Catholic, only about 15 to 20 percent attend church regularly."

Speaking at an event on the International Day Against Homophobia, Peña Nieto said he wanted to change the constitution to reflect the Supreme Court opinion "to recognize as a human right that people can enter into marriage without any kind of discrimination," The Associated Press reports.

He also announced his proposal in a series of tweets, calling for marriage equality and an end to discrimination against the LGBT community.

As NPR's Carrie Kahn reported last year, the Mexican Supreme Court's ruling made it illegal for states to bar same-sex couples from getting married, but it didn't invalidate state laws, and local clerks can still deny couples a marriage license. Now, couples denied marriage licenses can "directly appeal to local judges who will be bound by the Supreme Court ruling and must force local clerks to issue the license," Carrie says.

To amend the constitution, Nieto needs two-thirds of Congress to approve. As Carrie reports, reaching that number probably won't be difficult, "since his party and close allies control nearly half the seats, and leftist lawmakers already back same-sex marriage."

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