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."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...