Hundreds of demonstrators protested Saturday in Guatemala’s capital to reject a law approved by the ruling Congress that stiffens penalties for abortion, closes the door to same-sex marriage and limits rights for the LGBTI community.
“We as people of the LGBT community deserve, by the simple fact of living in this state, to have the same rights as other people,” Angel Cabrera, one of the protesters, told AFP.
In the protest, which began in the south of the capital and reached the historic center, the participants, with dances, music and multicolored flags, demanded that the Parliament shelve the “Law for the Protection of Life and the Family”, approved on Tuesday.
The law raises from three to 10 years the maximum prison sentence for “the woman who causes her abortion or consents that another person causes it”.
In addition, it made clear that “marriage between persons of the same sex is expressly prohibited” and restricted educational centers from teaching about sexual diversity, among other limitations for the LGBTI population.
Opposition deputies claimed that the law, in addition to being unconstitutional, could criminalize women for miscarriages and increase the risk of hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
On Thursday, President Alejandro Giammattei asked the Parliament to shelve the law, considering that it violates the Constitution and international conventions signed by the country. If not, he announced, he will veto it.
The day before, the president had participated in a Christian forum that declared Guatemala as “Pro Life Capital of Iberoamerica”,
Shirley Rivera, president of the Legislative and deputy of the ruling party that promoted the law, indicated that they will analyze if the norm contains illegalities.
“With our rights we do not play” and “No to the law of hate”, were some of the banners at Saturday’s protest.
The deputies promoting the law argued in the text that there are “minority groups” in Guatemala that propose “models of conduct and coexistence different from the natural order of marriage and the family” and that they represent a “threat to moral balance” and “peace”.