Mormons Enter Mexico’s Marriage Battle

Jim Burroway

June 2nd, 2016

LDS presence in Mexico goes back to the 1875, when a number of Mormon families fled anti-polygamy violence in the United States. (Former Michigan Gov. George W. Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, was born in Colonia Dublán, Chihuahua.) Mormon presence in Mexico has never been large. The church claims 1.4 million members out of a total population of 122 million, which is barely over a single percentage point. But Californians can attest, based on their Prop 8 experience, what an outsized influence the well-organized church can have on local politics. And so this bears watching:

On Sunday, three members of the LDS Church’s governing Area Authority in Mexico read a letter at services of individual Mormon stakes (which are like dioceses), urging members to oppose a presidential proposal to enshrine gay marriage in the country’s constitution.

… Signed by the Area Authority president, Benjamin De Hoyos, and his two counselors, Paul B. Pieper and Arnulfo Valenzuela, the statement exhorted Mexico’s Mormons to push government leaders to “promote those measures designed to strengthen the family and to maintain it as the fundamental unit of society.” …The LDS Church’s official Mexican newsroom website said the authorities’ statement also will be read by bishops of the more than 2,000 Mormon congregations in that nation.

Marriage equality used to be available in Sonora (cross-hatched), but is on hold for now. (Click to enlarge)

Marriage equality used to be available in Sonora (cross-hatched), but is on hold for now. (Click to enlarge)

Last month, President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed changing Mexico’s constitution and civil laws to provide marriage equality across the nation. The Congress is expected to take up those proposals when it reconvenes in September. While same-sex marriage is technically legal throughout Mexico, it is only available in nine states and in Mexico City without first having to go through the cumbersome and expensive process of obtaining a court order. The proposals have already run into a buzzsaw of opposition from the Catholic Church. While Catholics make up 80% of Mexico’s population, the Pew Research Center found that only 42% of Mexico’s Catholics say they oppose marriage equality.



June 3rd, 2016

I’m always somewhat bemused by the repeated calls to “strengthen the family” by people who are opposing measures to do just that.

Ben in oakland

June 3rd, 2016

I have yet to hear a single rational explanation about how banning my marriage strengthens yours.

And as so many said when the Mormons were touting their historic steps in Utah towards making peace with gay people… It was a total fake, window dressing to make it appear that they care.


June 3rd, 2016

I don’t think this is a repeat of Prop 8. In 2008, the LDS Prophet personally issued an extraordinary call to all Mormons in the US to do everything in their power to pass Prop 8. This was the equivalent of going nuclear. It essentially required Mormons to act. It worked, but the church realized that it couldn’t use this weapon repeatedly. And it has not been used since Prop 8. In Hawaii in 2013, the state church organization had a letter read to all of the stakes opposing the state’s gay marriage bill. That is roughly what we are seeing in Mexico. That local letter does not have the same impact as the personal directive from the Prophet and it had no impact on Hawaii. I expect that the letter reading in Mexico will not have a substantial impact.


June 4th, 2016

I’m not surprised at what is happening with the Mormons in Mexico. Their doctrine hasn’t changed. Their pronouncement about the “Eternal Family” is accepted revelation from their Latter-Day Prophet. No debate. No discussion.

Mormons align with NOM, the RCC and everyone in the Alabama high courts. They have an unrealistic notion they can undo or reverse what history will mark as a great time for the civil rights of LGBT. They will fail miserably. Yet they still stick with their unalterable tenets. Except when the Mormons finally faced their racism and changed their doctrine. Though I’m not predicting for the same kind of “revelation” with regards to their gay Saints. Not in my lifetime.

Some Mormons will point to the respect and coordination the Mormon Church had with the Utah Legislature to give gay Utahns some protections; workplace and housing for gays. But gays cannot say a disparaging word about a florist, baker, videographer, etc. if the business refuses to do business with someone having a gay marriage. The law comes down hard on that.

First off, there was no rampant gay discrimination in the workplace or housing in Utah. That was an easy ‘give’ to the LGBT community. (Besides, they could cover up the gay discrimination with other trumped up reasons. I know. I have seen it happen. They make the gay person so miserable they would want to quit or move.) So, I’m not sure that was a great stride for civil rights for Utah gays.

And I can’t wait for the first business that refuses to host a Mormon wedding reception or shoot the reception videos or supply the floral arrangements for a Mormon Temple ritual.

Mormons need to learn the greatest commandment: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Keep your dogma within your temples.

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