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GAYS, LESBIANS CANCEL MEETING IN GUADALAJARA

The International Association of Lesbians and Homosexuals has canceled the convention it had planned for Guadalajara after months of anti-gay marches, death threats and local government pressure.

Despite the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission, the association was unable to find a site for the meeting, which was to begin June 30 and last for a week, and unable to guarantee the safety of participants.More than 1,000 delegates from 30 countries had signed up for what would have been the Brussels-based association's first convention in Latin America, said organizers Pedro Preciado and Jorge Romero.

Preciado said city officials in Guadalajara and the nearby towns of Tonala, Tlaquepaque and Zapopan pressured hoteliers into refusing to provide meeting space.

Rightist groups have campaigned vigorously against the convention, painting slogans like "Death to Homesexuals," "Guadalajara Will Never Be Sodom," and "Homosexuals: Carriers of AIDS" on scores of walls.

On Sunday, anti-gay demonstrators carrying images of the crucifixion of Christ and the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint, and singing hymns marched through downtown Guadalajara.

The march was sponsored by the Guadalajara Moral, Civic and Material Improvement Council. Several Roman Catholic groups have also been active in the campaign against the convention.

Rightist groups also put up hundreds of posters featuring a pig wearing earrings and homophobic slogans.