Two gay men who were arrested for kissing at a public beach in Mexico were released by police after fellow beachgoers demanded their release.
In a video that has gone viral, a group of people in swimsuits chanted "I'm gay! I'm gay too!" in solidarity as they surrounded the police ATV where the handcuffed men were held.
You can watch the video clip of the incident that took place at a beach in Tulum Mexico, here:
The description for the Facebook post called for action against heavily-armed Mexican authorities for apprehending the men—who were visiting from Canada—just because they were "gays and have kissed."
Think twice before visiting #Tulum. Sad to see bigotry alive & well in paradise, but thankful to the good samaritan… https://t.co/ouoTp3eXtL— James Clarke (@James Clarke)1614461646.0
According to LGBTQ Nation, Mexican police issued a statement later claiming the two men had engaged in oral sex and committed "immoral acts and sexual erotic demonstrations, on the road or public places."
But nobody at the beach saw the alleged sexual act taking place. Police claimed they arrested the couple in response to a citizen complaint and also didn't witness the offenses they accused the men of committing.
Gay people are not equal yet. Too many minds still believe it’s offensive for their kids to witness two men kissing… https://t.co/ZoEeEvkhGl— Peter Vasdi (@Peter Vasdi)1614516747.0
Two officers did witness the men kissing and returned with several armed officers and two ATVs.
A witness who posted the video claimed the police were "violent" and cited the reason for arresting the couple was because "there are families and children and they cannot be watching this [kiss]."
"They were forced into the patrol and they would not let them go, all of us who were gathered were upset at seeing the situation, no matter how much we told them that they were not committing any crime, they did not release them."
Horrible. Attitude i had no idea tulum was homophobic. Canadian gay couple arrested at a Tulum beach for kissing https://t.co/gFhiZywUxZ— canon 53 (@canon 53)1614652753.0
Other sunbathers closed in on the police and insisted the foreigners were not committing any crimes and were just kissing like any other couple.
After a "few minutes of protest," both men were let go.
I love that the crowd surrounded the cops and forced them to release the couple. Armed Tulum, Mexico Police Offic… https://t.co/u9gsqIvYJY— Michael Remaley (@Michael Remaley)1614271599.0
This is what sticking up for others looks like — https://t.co/9BttPIwV7C #LGBTQ #mexico @EmbamexEUA #bullying #unity @sfchronicle @latimes— SmallerCitiesUnite! (@SmallerCitiesUnite!)1614346999.0
The witness continued:
"I am furious because it is not possible that in the 21st century this type of oppression against the LGBT + community continues."
"We all deserve the same treatment, and appropriate sanctions must be applied to these officers."
The incident proved shocking as LGBTQ rights are considered to be historically stronger in Mexico when compared to legal rights in the US.
Mexico decriminalized sexual conduct in private between adults, regardless of gender, in 1871—100 years before the US Supreme Court struck down anti-sodomy laws in 2003.
In April 2003, the Federal Congress in Mexico unanimously passed the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination—including sexual orientation as a protected category.
In 2016, former Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto signed an initiative to amend article 4 of Mexico's constitution, which would legalize same-sex marriages nationwide pending congressional approval.
But what makes Mexico different from the US is the pervasiveness of religion. Mexico has a predominantly Catholic population whose religion officially condemned homosexuality until the current Pope issued messages to the contrary.
In the United States, religions with a central official message condemning homosexuality count a shrinking group as their strict adherents.