Pope Francis has praised anti-gay marriage activists in Mexico for defending “family and life”.

Mexico has recently seen a wave of large-scale protests opposing same-sex marriage heavily backed by Catholic groups, after President Enrique Peña Nieto pushed to bring about equal marriage country-wide.

This weekend, tens of thousands of people were bussed in to large anti-gay marriage protests across the country, continuing a wave of opposition of the move.

Despite being perceived as a ‘reformer’ within the Church by some, Pope Francis has openly praised the protesters for defending “family and life”.

Speaking in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, he said: “I am very happy to associate myself with the Bishops of Mexico, in supporting the commitment of the Church and of civil society in favour of the family and of life, which in this time require special pastoral and cultural attention in all the world.”

It comes after the Mexican Catholic Church claimed that banning ‘gay cure’ therapy would amount to persecution against them.

The spokesperson of Mexico’s Catholic church, Father Hugo Valdemar, fumed: “There is persecution against the Church.
“It is something very serious, the state now determines the sexual behavior of citizens and forbids any attempt to return to normalcy.

“The state prohibits parents from helping their children to solve their sexual doubts and prohibits homosexuals from changing, but if they want to change their sex they fund that atrocity, it’s something diabolic.”

He continued to claim that country would imprison anyone who disagrees with the “gay dictatorship”.