Mexican President Proposes Legalizing Gay Marriage

Just weeks after Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto proposed relaxing laws on marijuana, the Mexican president is back at it again with a proposal to legalize gay marriage nationally. Edgard Garrido/Reuters

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's president on Tuesday proposed allowing same sex marriage nationally, the latest in a series of progressive policies in a traditionally conservative country.

The presidency said on Twitter that President Enrique Pena Nieto had "announced the signing of a reform initiative which includes the recognition of the right to get married without any form of discrimination."

Same sex marriage is currently permitted in Mexico City, as well as in several states, including Coahuila, Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Nayarit, Chihuahua and Sonora.

Mexico's Supreme Court said last year that laws restricting marriage to a man and woman were unconstitutional and a Supreme Court judge urged states to legalize gay marriage.

However, many state legislatures have not changed their statutes to comply, meaning couples must file legal challenges case by case to get married. Gay marriage is still banned under local laws in many of Mexico's 31 states.

Both the presidency and Pena Nieto's Twitter avatars were overlaid with the rainbow flag of gay pride to mark the international day against homophobia and transphobia.

#Sinhomofobia, or #Nohomophobia, read banners on Pena Nieto's Twitter account.

Por un @Mexico incluyente que reconoce en la diversidad, una de sus mayores fortalezas #SinHomofobia.

— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) May 17, 2016

The announcement came just weeks after Pena Nieto proposed relaxing laws on marijuana.

Grappling with deadly drug cartel violence, Pena Nieto last month sent a proposal to Congress to permit the use and importation of marijuana-based medicines. He also proposed raising the amount that marijuana users can legally carry to 28 grams from 5 grams.

Growing and selling marijuana is illegal in Mexico but is the mainstay business of violent drug gangs. Pena Nieto has not said where consumers would be able to obtain the marijuana they would be allowed to carry.

However, the proposal on marijuana is languishing in Congress.