Social Issues

Issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion, separation of church and state, indigenous rights, and women’s issues will also play a role in the upcoming elections. Check this page for the latest policy stances and news.

News and Analysis

  • 6/2/2012: Gabriel Quadri (PANAL) commits to defending gay rights, and receives the support of members of the LGBT community
  • 4/20/2012: According to Animal Político , all three major presidential candidates have sought to to “avoid committing” on the subjects of both gay marriage and abortion.
  • 4/20/2012: Reuters argues that the PAN’s Josefina Vázquez Mota, hoping for votes from the party’s strong Roman Catholic base, is opposed to gay marriage and abortion but also to jailing women for terminating pregnancies, a practice in some of Mexico’s states.
  • 4/19/2012: The PRI’s Enrique Peña Nieto refrains from taking a stance on abortion, suggesting that individual states should decide
  • 2/20/2012: The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico comes under fire for issuing voting “guidelines.” From “The Week in Review:” 

The “pastoral guidelines” do not mention any particular party, but dictate that Catholics should not “choose as a political option those who support or promote false rights or liberties that attack the teachings contained in the Holy Scriptures, tradition and doctrine of the Church.” They should also “be alert to the commitments of the candidates and their parties to respect the foremost of all rights, which is the right to life, from the moment of conception.”

According to The Associated Pressthe recommendations seem to be aimed especially at candidates from the PRD, which legalized both  gay marriage and abortion in Mexico City  The document seems carefully constructed to skirt the ban on all religious groups from engaging in electoral politics. The law prohibits the church from  supporting or opposing a candidate or party.

  • 9/30/2011: Mexican Supreme Court lets stand right-to-life amendments to the Baja California and San Luis Potosí state constitutions that say life begins at conception and effectively bans elective abortions. President Felipe Calderón weighed in through a presidential communiqué in favor of defining conception as the beginning of life. From our Week in Review:
These new laws are part of a backlash to a Mexico City measure, upheld by the Supreme Court in 2008, which allows abortion up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy.  Since then, at least 16 of Mexico’s 31 states have passed laws that severely restrict abortions. The Economist notes that this dispute “again underlines the vast difference between Mexico’s liberal capital and its conservative countryside,” which will increasingly come into focus as Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard continues his presidential campaign.

Al tener mayoría legislativa en los Congresos de Aguascalientes, Estado de México, Sinaloa, Tabasco y Tlaxcala, el Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) tiene la posibilidad de evitar que sean aprobadas iniciativas pendientes para criminalizar el aborto, afirmó Martha Juárez, integrante de Consorcio para el Dialogo Parlamentario y la Equidad. La activista de la organización integrante de la Campaña Nacional por el Derecho a Decidir alertó que en Aguascalientes se podrían reactivar en breve las iniciativas que buscan proteger la vida desde la concepción, ya que la jerarquía católica ha estado ejerciendo presión en el Congreso estatal.

  • 6/27/2011: Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI) on three controversial social issues:
Peña Nieto se mostró cauto ante los tres temas y zigzagueó. El gobernador del Estado de México primero decidió hablar sobre el aborto y lo que dijo fue “son derechos ya adquiridos por la sociedad”, pero “hay que evitar que sea usado como un método de planificación familiar”… Sobre adopción de menores y matrimonio también dijo que eran “derechos adquiridos y sancionados incluso por la Suprema Corte de Justicia”, pero que en lo personal “no comparte, pero no se opone a un derecho ya ganado”. Y habló sobre las diferencias que existen entre “estados más conservadores donde tarde o temprano estos temas irán avanzando”.
  • 6/14/2011: Reflecting in part the views of their parties, the three candidates for the State of Mexico gubernatorial race spoke about same-sex marriage and adoption:

En tanto Bravo Mena dejó claro que Acción Nacional es un partido defensor de la vida y promotor de la familia, por ello como gobernador no apostaría a presentar propuesta alguna a favor del aborto, matrimonios y adopción por parejas homosexuales. “Habré de respetar el debate” pero será el Congreso al que tocará promover iniciativa alguna junto con los partidos, acotó.

En cuanto a la adopción de niños por parte de parejas del mismo sexo, el abanderado priísta mostró su claro rechazo, mientras que sobre los matrimonios entre personas del mismo sexo, dijo que de ganar la gubernatura dejaría a los mexiquenses la aprobación o no de una legislación en el tema. “Que las mujeres se expresen, que digan cuál legislación quieren”, señaló en materia de aborto, pero aclaró que en el rubro de la adopción por parejas del mismo sexo, “no estoy de acuerdo pero seré respetuoso de lo que la gente opine”.

Encinas refirió que sí avala tales derechos y de ser electo gobernador promoverá la homologación de la legislación del estado de México con la del Distrito Federal en materia de matrimonio y adopción entre personas del mismo sexo y la Interrupción Legal del Embarazo.

They may have been long conspicuous for their absence, but the culture wars have arrived in Mexico. The first recent catalyst was, fittingly, abortion. After Mexico City legalized abortion in 2007, there was a brief flurry of outrage from the Church and the extreme right, but then the issue largely disappeared from public attention. Under the radar, however, the backlash intensified. Over the past three years, a series of states enacted statutes criminalizing abortion, culminating with Veracruz’s prohibition in November 2009.

This episode was followed by the legalization of same-sex marriage in Mexico City, a couple days before Christmas. Mexico City became only the second entity to legalize same-sex unions, but the first to provide an avenue to not only marriage but also adoption for homosexual couples. The reaction was striking in both cases; responding to the same-sex marriage initiative, the National Action Party (PAN) promised a national campaign for a constitutional ban.

In general, social issues in Mexico provoke more measured ambivalence than rabid anger, and social issues do not swing elections. but the big question is how all this will shake up support for the various parties.

The PAN‘s opposition to socially liberal positions is longstanding, as is its relationship with Church leaders, so the present opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion will only reaffirm its bonds with the hard-right section of Mexican society.

As for the PRD, the debates have forced them to mount a more full-throated defense of social liberalism, which is a positive development for the minority of Mexican voters who cast votes based on leftist social positions.

The impact on the Institutional Party of the Revolution (PRI) has the potential to be more significant. The PRI, an ideologically amorphous party that collected dozens of client groups over the course of its 70 years in power (which ended in 2000), has a significant leftist economic current operating within it, and has made noise about moving further left in recent years. But despite that, the PRI has been as stalwart in their opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage as the PAN.


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