Mexico’s first openly gay elected mayor says his victory in the city of Fresnillo marks a significant point in the fight for gay rights – yet he is not in favour of equal marriage.
Benjamin Medrano, a 47-year-old singer and owner of a gay bar, takes office in September.
The Roman Catholic politician is quoted as saying by the Associated Press: “I wish the church had a different view, but I cannot go against doctrine … I respect my church, and I don’t want to dig any deeper beyond what’s permitted and what is appropriate.”
“I’m not in favour of gay marriage, I don’t share that view, because we are still very small town … in short, we’re not prepared, in my view,” he said. “Not yet, anyway, because we have strong roots in our religion, and in our customs.”
Fresnillo, the second largest city in Zacatecas state, north central Mexico, is known for its problems with drug cartels.
Mr Medrano campaigned on a strong public-safety platform, advocating cooperation with state and federal police, and vetting and background checks on the notoriously corrupt local police force.
“I’m not at risk, because I don’t have any relationship with any of the groups,” Mr Medrano said on Thursday, referring to the two drug cartels — the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel — that are fighting for control of Fresnillo.
“Of course, I have the same fear that anybody who lives in Fresnillo has,” he added.
Mr Medrano believes his sexuality has been accepted by voters because of his background.
“Given that I’m a singer, people know that aspect of me,” Mr Medrano said.
He was the target of a malicious phone-calling campaign in which his political rivals “tried to smear me, as if being gay were a crime.”