Conservative Mexican state of Puebla legalizes same-sex marriage

FILE PHOTO: The colors of the Pride rainbow flag symbolizing gay rights, are projected on a building, after a Gay Pride Parade, in downtown Mexico City, Mexico June 24, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Congress of the Mexican state of Puebla voted to legalize same-sex marriages by an overwhelming majority on Tuesday, marking a step forward for LGBT rights in the predominantly Roman Catholic Latin American country.

Long one of the more conservative regions in Mexico, Puebla joins the majority of Mexico’s 32 states in recognizing same-sex marriages despite opposition from the Church and some traditionalist groups.

The push for marriage equality and LGBT rights has grown in Mexico over the last two decades, with discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation outlawed since 2003.

Still, advocates have also warned of rising violence against LGBT people in Mexico this year, especially transgender women.

Long governed by conservative administrations, Puebla is now in the hands of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s leftist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA).

While Lopez Obrador himself is careful not to alienate socially conservative voters, many in the left-wing base of his party are staunch supporters of socially liberal causes.

Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey, Editing by Tom Brown