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Thousands March Against Same-Sex Marriage in Mexico

A gay couple look on as thousands of Catholics and conservatives gathered together against the legalization of gay marriage and to defend their interpretation of traditional family values in Monterrey City, Mexico September 10, 2016.

Thousands of people marched in Mexico Saturday against the president's proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.

The National Front for the Family, a coalition of various religious groups and other organizations, called on Mexicans to gather across the country to challenge President Enrique Pena Nieto's legislation to allow gay marriage.

In May, Pena Nieto proposed a change in the Mexican constitution to allow gay couples to marry nationally. He told news outlets that congress should debate and resolve the issue.

Demonstrators chanted "Wake up and defend the family" and "Children need a father and a mother," while also challenging government-mandated projects that fund sex-education programs.

An estimated 40,000 people assembled in the city of Queretaro alone, organizers said.

In Monterrey, others gathered to counter-protest by singing and reading poetry to show support to the Mexican gay community.

"It's a discriminatory position and we hope it doesn't have success," Jesus Gonzalez, a human rights activist, said.

Same-sex marriage is allowed in a few Mexican states such as Coahuila, Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Nayarit, Chihuahua and Sonora.