A woman in Mexico was caught on video spraying what appeared to be “holy water” on a gay couple who were hugging each other and showing affection outside a church.
The confrontation between the woman and the couple, filmed and shared by one of the men on TikTok — where it has amassed nearly 400,000 views — occurred in Toluca, located about 50 miles west of Mexico City, last weekend. The woman took offense to the two hugging on the steps outside the church, and accused the couple of spreading immorality to Mexico’s youth, spritzing them with a spray bottle filled with water.
“Get out right now! I’m going to call the police,” the woman says in Spanish in the video as she sprays the couple and makes the sign of the cross.
Leonardo Hernández, who posted the video to TikTok, can be heard telling the woman in Spanish, “It is bad to hate, lady.”
A bystander tried to intervene on behalf of Hernández and his boyfriend, telling the woman: “They are not doing anything. They are just sitting here.”
The woman is then seen putting the bottle of “holy water” back in her purse and threatening to call police. Someone picks up and she complains that the church is private property and that the couple is not welcome in the “Lord’s house.”
“They are not from here,” she says. “They come from other depraved countries to teach immorality to the youth here.”
Hernández then appears to speak with police on the woman’s phone, saying he and his partner are simply seated on steps outside the church, and doesn’t believe that they are committing any “immoral acts.” He adds that he and his partner have been respectful to the woman even though she “wants to run us out of here.”
The person on the phone, whom Hernández described as an officer, can be heard saying that he has told the woman that this is an example of discrimination, but says that, in order to avoid further confrontation, it would be better for Hernández and his partner to leave the steps of the church. Hernández thanks the officer before ending the video.
Hernández, who lives in Mexico City, told NBC News that he believes the true meaning of a religion should be about doing good, being respectful, loving your neighbor unconditionally, and being able to love freely. But he noted that sometimes, religion can warp that message into one of “hate and rejection of a group for the simple fact of loving and being who you are.”
Hernández captioned the video: “It’s difficult to understand that someone can treat you like this for loving freely,” adding a broken heart emoji. “The good people are [greater in number]; Thanks to the authorities and people of the church who decided to act with love and consistency.”
Thousands of users commented on the video, with many defending their right to be there and expressing shock at the woman’s actions.
“I’m so sorry boys. You handled it correctly. All the love to you,” wrote one.
“I am Catholic, but I don’t know anyone who does this,” wrote another.
“We are with you, I’m sorry that there are people like this, I’m sending you a lot of love,” wrote a third.
Hernández says he’s grateful for the support from followers and others who commented on the video, saying the overall supportive tone shows that “we are learning to accept the great diversity that exists in this world.”
Same-sex marriage became legal in all of Mexico’s 32 states this past October, after nearly seven years of drawn-out political battles. The Mexican Supreme Court declared bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional back in 2015, but some more conservative states slow-walked the process of adopting laws allowing same-sex nuptials.
The ruling also received pushback from religious conservatives, who have attempted to influence Mexican politics by lobbying for a reversal of same-sex marriage laws and demanding “pro-family” and “religious freedom” legislation, adopting many of the tactics and messaging utilized by the far-right in Europe and the United States. As such, it is not altogether uncommon to find Mexicans with views similar to the woman who confronted Hernández and his partner, although most don’t go so far as spraying their political opponents with water.
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