The Catholic Archbishop of Mexico has been accused of inciting violence after strongly attacking homosexual sexual activity in response to a plan by President Enrique Peña Nieto to introduce same-sex marriage nationally.
Cardinal Norberto Rivera has reportedly been using the Catholic weekly Desde la Fe, which he manages editorially, to issue unusually crude statements about how men's bodies are not designed for sex with one another.
The newspaper has described the same-sex marriage bill as "a terrible stab in the back" and Cardinal Rivera has repeatedly urged homosexuals to "abstain from having sex" and "stay in chastity".
In an interview with teleSUR, Temistocles Villanueva, the national secretary for Sexual Diversity of the leftist MORENA party, accused Cardinal Rivera of threatening Mexico's LGBT community.
"The cardinal violates the secular state because he's messing into legal issues," Villanueva said. "He promotes discrimination and violence and gives an idea that homosexuals are living in sin... And he bases this campaign in archaic arguments that do not take into account science or human rights."
The newspaper's latest editorial says the Apostle Paul viewed homosexual practices as being "against nature".
Villanueva said that the Cardinal refrains from giving interviews, preferring instead to air his opinions in the paper, but that he repeats some of his stronger views in sermons at Mexico City Cathedral. Several LGBT groups have reportedly filed church complaints against Cardinal River for promoting homophobia.
Same sex marriage is legal in some states including Mexico City. Last June, the Supreme Court ruled that every civil state authority should "recognise marriage as a human right and that people can enter into marriage without any kind of discrimination". However, the ruling was not legally binding for all states.
Villanueva said that latest polls have shown that more than 60 per cent of Mexicans support same-sex marriage, but, he added: "it is not about just being able to marry. It is about equality."