Originally published in Faith & Justice magazine, April 2017
‘It’s time to act for the family,
Your voice with mine we can achieve it,
Our steps will speak the power of truth,
Rescuing the principles of the original design.’
So says the (translated) chorus of the theme song of a pro-family campaign in Mexico last year that culminated in high-visibility marches in over one hundred cities around the country. That effort was led by the Frente Nacional Por La Familia (FNF)—representing a broad coalition of civil society organizations. Its campaign was a truly remarkable alliance achievement. (More on that shortly.)
Just as in the US, the marriage deconstruction crusade is in full swing in Mexico. Its Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled state laws upholding traditional marriage and family standards as unconstitutional.
In response, a pro-family organization gathered enough signatures to propose a citizen-initiated amendment to the Mexican Constitution. That initiative, submitted to the national Senate in February of 2016, presents the traditional definition of marriage, affirms parental educational authority, and sets forth related norms of the natural family structure. Just a few months later, however, the President introduced a counter-amendment that would redefine marriage in the Constitution to include same-sex unions. He also proposed a legislative package that would negatively impact family law throughout the nation.
FNF went to work. It crafted educational efforts, engaged in public advocacy, and organized a grassroots movement to protect and defend natural marriage and family in the law. The result was a national phenomenon.
‘Help arrived from many sides,’ says FNF’s Juan Antonio López Baljarg. ‘The commitment of the civil society, pro-family and pro-life groups, the church and different religions, politicians, communicators in media, and social media was essential.’
‘FNF is the broadest and strongest coalition of pro-family organizations and institutions that Mexico has ever seen, everyone pulling in the same direction,’ says Katharina Rothweiler, who now oversees alliance relationships in Latin America for ADF International, and who worked closely with FNF on this project.
FNF’s tireless efforts led to an unprecedented display of support for the family via marches held across Mexico that together drew 1.7 million participants. On 10 September, marches were held in 122 cities. Nearly 1.3 million people participated. Then on 24 September, the National March for Marriage took place in Mexico’s capital city, in which approximately 450,000 people joined (photo above).
‘I think that the marches are the beginning of a social movement that will defend the family and the values in Mexico,’ says López Baljarg. ‘The family is important for the society; it is your present and your future. Family is the solution.’
In November, the President’s marriage-redefinition amendment was voted down in Congressional committee. But the battle for the family continues in Mexico—as it does across the globe. FNF has provided an encouraging and instructive example of vigilance and cooperation in service of the common good.