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Same-sex couple from migrant caravan marry after arriving at US-Mexican border

23-year-old Erick Dubon and 22-year-old Pedro Nehemias have travelled to Tijuana from their home state of Honduras.

2018-11-19

Words: Will Stroude

The arrival of thousands of migrants from Central America in the Mexican border town of Tijuana has sparked angry scenes and rhetoric on both sides of the the border, but there was a reminder of the humanity at the heart of the issue as a same-sex couple travelling with the caravan married over the weekend.

A video of Erick Dubon, 23, and Pedro Nehemias, 22 sharing a kiss after exchanging vows went viral after being shared by journalist Sarah Kinosian, The Independent reports.

The couple, from Honduras, where same-sex marriage is banned, had arrived in Tijuana as part of a splinter group of approximately 400 migrants who say they are fleeing perseuction, poverty and violence in their home states.

The splinter forms part of a 5,000-strong caravan which has made its way north from Central American over the past few weeks, in what US President Donald Trump has referred to as an attempted "invasion".

Erick and Pedro tied the knot ahead of applying for asylum in the US, and told the Washington Post that they had endured abuse and discrimination during their journey because of their sexuality.

"We were discriminated against, even in the caravan," Erick said.

"People wouldn’t let us into trucks, they made us get in the back of the line for showers, they would call us ugly names."

Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Tijuana to protest against the migrants currently amassing in the city, which is just 30km south of the Califonian city of San Diego.

After the Mayor Tijuana expressed concerns about Tijuana's ability to handle to growing number of people arriving, President Trump tweeted telling the migrants to "go home".

"The Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, just stated that 'the City is ill-prepared to handle this many migrants, the backlog could last 6 months,'" he tweeted on Sunday (November 19).

"Likewise, the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!"

Same-sex marriage is banned under the constitution in Erick and Pedro's home country of Honduras, where levels of anti-LGBT violence and killings are extremely high.

At least 264 LGBT people were killed between 2009-17, of whom more than half were gay men, according to local LGBT rights group, Cattrachas.

Erick and Pedro have travelled from Honduras in Central America (right) to the Mexican border city of Tijuana (l), where they hope to seek asylum in the US

In a report released last year, human rights group Amnesty International said that LGBT people were fleeing Central America to escape "epidemic levels of violence", but had "absolutely nowhere to run for safety".

In a statement at the time, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International said: "Terrorized at home, and abused while trying to seek sanctuary abroad, they are now some of the most vulnerable refugees in the Americas."