Mexico´s First Openly Gay Mayor Doesn't Back Gay Marriage

PHOTO: Medrano, the first openly gay mayor ever elected in Mexico, is scheduled to take office in the rough, violence-plagued state of Zacatecas in September.

Benjamin Medrano is the first openly gay mayor in Mexico. But he opposes gay marriage.

Medrano, 47, recently won the election in Fresnillo, a conservative and largely rural county in Zacatecas state. He thinks it´s too early (and perhaps politically unsavvy) to support this cause.

"I'm not in favor of gay marriage," Medrano told the AP on Thursday explaining that "we are still a very small town ... we're not prepared, in my view."

Medrano said that as a Catholic, he wished the church had "a different view" on that matter, but added: " I cannot go against doctrine ... I respect my church, and I don't want to dig any deeper beyond what's permitted and what is appropriate."

This cautious approach to a culturally sensitive topic like gay marriage could have helped Medrano to win the recent election in Fresnillo, by keeping him in sync with the area´s conservative voters, according to the AP.

It also helped that Medrano, a singer and gay-bar owner, did not campaign on gay rights issues. Instead, Medrano focused on security -- a major problem for the residents of Fresnillo, which is caught in the middle of a turf war between the Gulf Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel.

In the run-up to the election, opponents of Medrano set up a phone-calling campaign in which they attempted to smear him for being gay. But Medrano prevailed in the end, winning by a wide margin.

Despite Medrano´s opposition to gay marriage, some gay rights groups have described his victory as a positive development and a sign that things are changing in the country. But he's downplayed his own background.

"I think there are more important things than a candidate's sexual orientation," Medrano told Mexican TV station C3N after he was elected, "and the people of Fresnillo understood that."

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