“I’m not in favor of gay marriage, I don’t share that view, because we are still very small town … in short, we’re not prepared, in my view,” the 47-year-old gay bar owner told the AP. “Not yet, anyway, because we have strong roots in our religion, and in our customs.”
Medrano is the mayor of Fresnillo, part of the state of Zacatecas, where, he says, “there are 258 villages full of tough country people, who don’t necessarily have much information on what’s happening elsewhere, and have even less of an automatic sympathy with their gay mayor.”
Fresnillo and the surrounding area have been plagued by gang violence as hacked up and decapitated bodies have turned up in an ongoing drug turf war. So how, then, did an openly gay mayor get elected?
Well, Medrano ran on a public safety reform platform, calling for cooperation with state and federal police as well as routine vetting of the notoriously unscrupulous local police force. Oh, and he’s also got the voice. Of. An. Angel.
In addition to owning a gay bar for the better part of two decades, Medrano is a singer and, according to the AP, “singing is one of the areas where Mexico has readily accepted gays.”
“Given that I’m a singer, people know that aspect of me,” Medrano said. He also distanced himself from gay rights in his campaign and, as a Roman Catholic, does not want to go against the church. While some may call him an Uncle Tom, or an Uncle Arthur, for shying away from gay politics, Medrano is critical of closeted politicians and “very proud” to be the first openly gay mayor in the country.
He’s also got the backing of one of Mexico’s foremost gay rights advocacy groups, Letra “S”, which sees Medrano’s victory as a sign of the times. “This shows that our human rights system is providing some protection,” director Alejandro Brito said. “Because, even though there is no public majority in favor of electing gay politicians, he (Medrano) knows that the legal framework will protect him.”
“It is now more risky for a political rival to be openly homophobic,” Brito added, “than it is to be a homosexual candidate.”