A gay couple embracing outside a church in Mexico was doused with “holy water” by a woman who accused them of spreading immorality to the country’s youth.
“Get out now! I’m calling the police,” the woman said in Spanish while the couple sprayed and made the sign of the cross.
The encounter took place in Toluca, about 50 miles west of Mexico City, and was caught on camera and shared by one of the men in a TikTok video that has since gone viral. Posted over the weekend, the video had nearly 400,000 views as of Wednesday afternoon.
Leonardo Hernandez, who posted the video, can be heard telling the woman in Spanish, “It’s bad to hate, ma’am.”
A bystander intervened to defend the couple, telling the woman: “They’re not doing anything. They’re just sitting here.”
The woman, who has not been identified, put a bottle in her purse after spraying the couple and then said she was going to call authorities and took out her cell phone. She can be heard saying on the phone that the church is private property and that the couple are not welcome in the “house of the Lord”.
“They’re not from here,” she says in Spanish. “They come from other depraved countries to teach the youth their immorality.”
Hernandez then appeared to be talking to authorities on the woman’s phone, saying he didn’t think his partner committed an “immoral act” and that he and his partner were respectful of the woman, even though she “wanted to run us out. here.”
The person on the phone, who Hernandez described as the officer, can be heard through the phone Hernandez saying he told the woman “this is discrimination” but asked Hernandez to avoid confrontation and leave the steps. Hernandez thanks the officer before ending the video.
After the encounter, Hernandez, 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. He said sometimes, however, religion can turn this message into “hatred and rejection of a group for the simple fact of loving and being who you are.”
In a caption posted along with his video, Hernandez wrote: “It’s hard to understand that someone can treat you like this for loving freely 💔 the good ones are more; Thank you to the authorities and the people of the Church, who have decided to act with love and consistency.
Thousands of users commented on the video, with many coming to the couple’s defense.
“Do these people still exist?” one person commented.
Another said: “You should love your neighbor as yourself. Your mouth speaks of what your heart lacks. I love you guys, I send you blessings and bless your love.
Hernandez told NBC News that he is grateful to those who have extended their support and that the encouraging comments reflect 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 last October. When the last state voted on legalization, the president of Mexico’s highest court, Arturo Zaldívar, welcomed the vote.
“The whole country is shining with a huge rainbow,” he wrote on social media. “Long live the dignity and rights of all people. Love is love.”
Jay Valle, an NBCU Academy embed, writes and produces digital content for NBC Out.