MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico City’s leftist mayor filed a defamation lawsuit Wednesday against a Roman Catholic cardinal for suggesting he bribed the Supreme Court to uphold a city law allowing adoptions by same-sex couples.
Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said he filed the lawsuit to defend his honor and the principle of separation of church and state in Mexico.
Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez suggested over the weekend that the justices may have been paid to uphold the law, using a slang word for corruption that refers to giving feed to livestock.
He has refused to retract his remarks. His spokesman, Guadalajara Archbishop Antonio Gutierrez, said the cardinal had “something specific” to back up his claim. Gutierrez would not give any details, saying only that the cardinal would be willing to submit evidence to a court.
Ebrard said he asked a Mexico City civil court to require Sandoval do just that.
“They should present proof, which we know they don’t have,” Ebrard told reporters. “The state ... is not at the service of any religious doctrine or particular philosophy. It is responsible for defending the public interest.”
The Supreme Court has denied and condemned the cardinal’s accusation.
The Mexican Council of Bishops has stood by Sandoval, expressing “solidarity and regards” for the cardinal.
Mexico City’s leftist government has enacted several laws that have angered Catholic Church leaders, including legalizing same-sex marriage and abortion.