By: President Enrique Peña Nieto
On May 17, I submitted a package of bills designed to promote equality. In particular, the proposal includes incorporating the right to marry, regardless of gender identity or sexual preference into our Constitution. This decision is in line with the ruling issued by Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation last year that prohibiting same-sex marriage is discriminatory.
Since state law is not automatically linked to this ruling, only a change in the Constitution can guarantee the right to marriage for all people, regardless of where in the country they decide to exercise it. This was undoubtedly right time to announce these bills, based on my own personal conviction, and that of my government, to move towards a more inclusive society. The overall objective is to achieve a Society of Rights, in which all Mexicans will enjoy all rights under the law.
As expected, this announcement prompted a significant amount of debate, not only among the political parties in Congress, but also among certain sectors of our society. I understand that these measures face a certain amount of resistance and that a number of taboos related to the subject continue to exist. However, as President, my duty is to ensure that the personal beliefs and customs of some do not restrict the human rights of others.
Mexico has advanced swiftly in the recognition of equality. For example, a national survey –taken only a few days after this series of initiatives was announced- shows that 64% of Mexicans recognize homosexuality as an “acceptable way of life”. In 2000, this figure was only 27%. Moreover, according to the same survey, 66% of people currently agree, in whole or in part, that equal marriage should be allowed in our Constitution.
Despite this progress, major challenges remain, including the fact that several laws and regulations in Mexico are still discriminatory.
Realizing this, I launched an initiative to review all our legal framework, with the active participation of academics, civil society organizations and citizens. The goal is to collect recommendations from all corners of our country, in order to identify each of the laws that do not recognize equality and to propose the necessary changes to improve them. Although it is true that legislation alone will not eliminate stereotypes or prejudices, it is a necessary step to achieving this.
Opening the conversation, even beyond our borders, is also essential to promoting inclusion. On May 17, I announced that Mexico will be part of the United Nations LGBT Core Group together with 19 countries that promote these rights internationally. The guiding principle of our participation will be the conviction that each woman must have the same rights and that diversity is an essential element of the richness of our society.
Building a Society of Rights means that there is no room for first- and second-class citizens.. It means choosing inclusion over discrimination. It means creating unity from diversity.